Cardiac MRI

SJRA Cardiac Imaging Services

What is a Cardiac MRI?

A test that produces high-quality still and moving pictures of the heart and great vessels. MRI acquires information about the heart as it is beating; creating moving images of the heart throughout its pumping cycle. This is used for analyzing heart function and anatomy. MRI uses large magnets and radio-frequency waves to produce pictures of the body’s internal structures; no x-ray exposure is involved.

What preparation is required for a Cardiac MRI?

Preparation for most MRI exams is minimal. You may be asked not to eat or drink before the exam depending upon the body area to be examined. Please wear little or no jewelry. Watches, coins and any other metallic objects will be removed before you enter the scanner. Most importantly, you must inform the staff of any metal in your body such as pacemakers, heart valves, aneurysm clips, metal fragments in your eyes, or other sources of metal. This will be reviewed in detail when you schedule your exam.


What is a Cardiac stress test?

This procedure is performed with treadmill exercise, monitoring the heart rate and blood pressure as the patient exercises. A cardiologist is present during a cardiac stress test to monitor the EKG. In addition to treadmill stress your doctor may want either an isotope stress test or an Echo stress test. SJRA offers both of these forms of stress testing. All stress tests are designed to see if the heart muscle is getting enough blood during exercise. Narrowings in arteries that supply blood to the heart can be detected this way. This is an indirect way to look for the same pathology seen directly with Coronary CTA. In some cases there are changes in the EKG during exercise indicating the underlying lack of blood. In a Nuclear Stress test a small dose of a radiopharmaceutical that binds to heart muscle is injected after the stress. Images are then made of the heart muscle to look for areas that do not receive adequate blood supply. In an ECHO stress an echocardiogram (see below) is performed during stress to look for regions of the heart muscle that do not contract (pump) properly during stress. Both nuclear stress and stress ECHO increase the accuracy of the exam.

What kind of preparation do I need for a stress test?

You may be asked to fast or withhold certain medications prior to the procedure. Be sure to ask your doctor for any special instructions. If you can’t fast, are diabetic or are on medication, ask your physician or call our office for instructions. Please be sure to let us know about any medications you may be taking.

On the day of the examination, wear loose, comfortable clothing, as well as sneakers or rubber-soled shoes, since you will be exercising as part of the examination.

All of our centers are fully accredited by the American College of Radiology.

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