Cardiac MRI

March 2, 2024

What is Cardiac MRI?

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic procedure that uses radio waves, magnets, and a computer to create detailed images of the heart. This "non-invasive" procedure captures these images without entering the body and without the use of x-rays or radioactive radiation.


During a cardiac MRI, the patient will lie on a table that slides into a tunnel-like MRI machine. The procedure typically lasts 45 to 90 minutes. As the machine will make loud noises, the patient will be provided with earplugs and can listen to music or watch a movie to help them relax.

To enhance image quality, the patient may be asked to hold their breath for short periods (10 to 20 seconds). Some patients may also receive a contrast dye called gadolinium through an IV to improve visibility of blood vessels or heart muscle.


A cardiac MRI is performed to evaluate the structure and function of the heart and blood vessels. It provides unique information that may not be obtainable through other tests, helping doctors diagnose and monitor various heart conditions. The procedure is particularly useful for assessing congenital heart defects, heart muscle diseases, and scarring of the heart muscle.