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      Cardiac MRI
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What Is Cardiac MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a safe, noninvasive test that creates detailed images of your organs and tissues. “Noninvasive” means that no surgery is done and no instruments are inserted into your body.

MRI uses radio waves and magnets to create images of your organs and tissues. Unlike computed tomography (to-MOG-ra-fee) scans (also called CT scans) or conventional x rays, MRI imaging doesn’t use ionizing radiation or carry any risk of causing cancer.

Cardiac MRI uses a computer to create images of your heart as it’s beating, producing both still and moving pictures of your heart and major blood vessels. Doctors use cardiac MRI to get images of the beating heart and to look at the structure and function of the heart. These images can help them decide how best to treat patients with heart problems.

Cardiac MRI is a common test for diagnosing and evaluating a number of diseases and conditions, including:

Cardiac MRI images can help explain results from other tests, such as x ray and CT scans. Cardiac MRI is sometimes used to avoid the need for other tests that use radiation (such as x rays), invasive procedures, and dyes containing iodine (these dyes may be harmful to people who have kidney problems).

Sometimes during cardiac MRI, a special dye is injected into a vein to help highlight the heart or blood vessels on the images. Unlike the case with x rays, the special dyes used for MRI don’t contain iodine, so they don’t present a risk to people who are allergic to iodine or have kidney problems.

August 2007

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