Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging


What you can expect

When getting a cMRI test, the process involves the following:

  1. The patient will go to a special laboratory, change into a gown, and remove all jewelry and other metal objects. The patient may be given medications to help lie still during the cMRI test, which typically takes 30 to 90 minutes.
  2. To prepare for the test, the patient will be asked to lie on a table. A technician will then slide the table into a hollow, donut-shaped chamber. In this chamber, the patient will be exposed to magnetic fields, and radio waves as the body is scanned—both harmless and painless. The patient will also find that the scanner makes many loud "clanking" noises during the test and will likely be given headphones or earplugs to wear during the test.
  3. If the doctor requests, a small amount of "dye" will be injected through an IV in the patient's vein. This contrast dye makes it easier for the doctor to see the blood vessels.

Lying still on the table in an enclosed chamber may be the most uncomfortable aspect of a cMRI test. If the patient feels uncomfortable in closed spaces, the doctor can administer anxiety-reducing medication upon request. Some hospitals use an “open MRI” instead of a “closed” one.