Cardiac MRI is a scan that uses magnetic fields to create a detailed picture of the heart. It allows the doctor to assess the function and structure of the heart non – invasively. Based on this, the doctor decides on the best treatment plan to address the patient’s heart condition. An MRA or magnetic resonance angiography is usually done to diagnose and detect blood vessel diseases. It is also non-invasive and follows the same procedure as MRI. Read about the heart problems that need early diagnosis and treatment.
How is Cardiac MRI performed? :
The test is done in a medical imaging facility or a hospital in an MRI or MRA machine. The equipment has a table that slides in and out of a donut-shaped machine. The patient is asked to lie on the table, and a contrast dye may be injected into the vein in the arm. It is done to highlight the heart and the blood vessels. The table then slides along with the patient into the machine.
Inside the MRA machine, the patient is surrounded by a magnetic field. This field reacts with the hydrogen atoms in the body as these atoms are magnetic. Finally, a faint radio signal gets created, and the computer reads this. This signal gets converted to an image that is seen on the computer’s monitor. Claustrophobic patients are either given a calming medication before the test or recommended an open MRI or MRA. During the test, the patient can communicate with the technician to follow his instructions and voice his discomfort. MRI cannot be done if the patient has a pacemaker or other metallic devices like valves, clips, etc., in his body.
Are there any risks involved in it? :
Cardiac MRI and MRA are harmless and painless procedures. Few patients might find it uncomfortable to remain still or be bothered by the scanner’s noise during the test. The body might also feel slightly warm while the images the being taken.
Apart from Cardiac MRI, there are other diagnostic tests that are performed to detect heart problems.
Cardiac MRI : FAQs
What are preparations required from the patient?
The patient will be asked to remove all metallic or magnetic items and jewelry before the test. He/She must inform the doctor about his history of claustrophobia and the presence of metallic implants in the body. Women must notify the doctor if they are pregnant or breastfeeding before scheduling the MRI.
How long does it take?
An MRI scan lasts for approximately 60 to 90 minutes, while an MRA takes over 30 to 90 minutes.
Who performs it?
A radiologist or a radiology technologist usually does the MRI and MRA.
How much does Cardiac MRI cost?
The average cost of an MRI is around Rs. 1500 to 25K, and that of MRA is around Rs. 2500 to 10K.
When can I go home after the procedure?
The patient is allowed to go home and resume regular activity immediately after the test.