Cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is an advanced cardiac imaging test that allows your doctor to see structural details of your heart and how it functions in real time. It is a noninvasive test that uses a magnetic field and radio waves rather than radiation to form images.
If you’ve been referred for a cardiac MRI in Arizona, Dignity Health offers diagnostic testing at convenient locations across the state. To learn about what to expect with cardiac imaging, Find a Doctor at Dignity Health.
Why Cardiac MRI is Performed
Cardiac MRIs are performed to give your cardiologist more precise information about your heart function that was not available from other imaging tests, such as X-rays or computed tomography (CT) scans.
At Dignity Health, your cardiologist may request a cardiac MRI to look for signs of:
Chandler Regional Medical Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center are nationally recognized leader in heart and vascular care, offering quality cardiac imaging services to diagnose a wide range of cardiovascular diseases and conditions.
What to Expect With a Cardiac MRI at Dignity Health
Cardiac MRIs are performed in a specialized radiology imaging center or in a hospital. In general, MRI scanners are large imaging machines that contain a magnet and have an opening in the middle. You will lie on a narrow table that slides into the machine. The radiology team may give you a sedative if you are claustrophobic or may become anxious during the test. Some facilities have newer machines that are not completely enclosed. There is an intercom that the operator can use to communicate with you during the test.
Your cardiologist may track how blood flows through your heart and blood vessels by using a contrast material, which is injected into one of your veins. The contrast material makes it easier to see blood vessels and other tissues. An MRI with contrast is called MR angiography, or MRA.
MRIs are noisy, which can be disturbing for some patients. Many facilities provide you with headphones or earplugs to help block the noise. Some provide headsets to allow you to listen to music, so ask if you can bring some of your favorite tunes. An MRI lasts 30 to 90 minutes.
Let your doctor know before the MRI if you are pregnant or have a metal or electronic implants inside your body, such as a pacemaker or defibrillators.
Recovery After Cardiac MRI
You can resume your daily routine following an MRI if you did not receive sedation. Otherwise, you may need someone to drive you home following the test.
A radiologist interprets the images and consults with your doctor. The detailed images of your heart help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis and guide next steps.
Dignity Health offers advanced diagnostic imaging, including cardiac MRI in Arizona, as part of our cardiovascular services.