Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (cMRI) is a noninvasive test that provides a highly detailed assessment of the structure and function of the heart and its vessels. cMRI does not rely on X-rays, but on magnetic fields and radio waves.
The patient is placed in a large “doughnut” which contains a powerful magnet; a radio wave is transmitted by a light antenna (coil) placed on the chest. The coil receives back the radio waves as modified by the magnet and a complex computer program transforms the radio wave signal into a 2D or 3D image.
Most patients can have a cMRI study, unless their body contains certain metallic implants that could be displaced by the magnet. The test can take up to 1 hour and you will be asked to hold your breath for relatively short periods of time during the scan.
cMRI provides vivid, highly detailed images and movies of your heart that can diagnose very complex congenital or acquired structural disease defects. In addition, cMRI represents the gold standard for evaluation of the heart pumping function and of heart muscle scars developed after a heart attack, helping the cardiologist to decide on future treatment strategies.