What Is a Cardiac MRI?
A cardiac MRI is a special type of MRI exam designed to look at the structure and function of the heart. It takes about 90 minutes.
A cardiac MRI uses contrast injected through an IV. Contrast helps improve the clarity of images to make a diagnosis more accurate. It works by making some tissues and structures stand out from others so radiologists can see them more clearly.
The benefits of using contrast typically outweigh any potential risk. We carefully asses your risk before giving you contrast.
How to Prepare for a Cardiac MRIYou can log into Patient Gateway for more details on your specific appointment.
- When to Arrive - Please arrive 30 minutes before your appointment.
- Screening Call - Expect to get a phone call from our MRI staff about three days before your appointment. We will ask you questions about allergies and implants. The call helps make sure we have everything ready for you when you arrive. During this call, please let us know if you'd like interpreter services during your appointment so we have enough time to coordinate support.
- Implants - Please let our MRI staff know if you have anything metal or electronically implanted in your body. Bring information about any metal or electronic implants in your body to your appointment. We will need to make sure it is safe for you to have an MRI with it in place.
- Eating and Drinking - You can eat and drink as you normally would before your appointment. The only exception is no caffeine.
- Claustrophobia - Ask your doctor about medicine to help you relax during your appointment if you have a fear of small spaces. We don't have anything in our department that we can give you. Please be mindful of your means of transportation when taking medicine to relax for your MRI.
- Clothing - Please wear clothes that are easy to change out of. All MRI patients at Mass General change into hospital attire for safety.
- Valuables - Valuables are not allowed in the exam room. Lockers are available, but we suggest you leave your valuables at home.
- Children - If you need to bring kids to your appointment, please bring someone to watch them in the waiting room. MRI staff cannot be responsible for supervising minor children during the appointment.
What to Expect at a Cardiac MRI Exam
Find out what happens when you come to Mass General Imaging for your cardiac MRI exam. During COVID, we are taking unprecedented steps to keep our patients safe. We have adjusted our operations and physical space so you may notice some enhanced safety measures when you visit.
Use these patient resources to answer other questions about your appointment. You can also contact us if you need any help.
Division of Cardiovascular Imaging
The Division of Cardiovascular Imaging at Mass General provides our cardiac imaging services, including cardiac MRI.
- Division Chief, Cardiovascular Imaging, Department of Radiology
- Associate Professor of Radiology, Harvard Medical School