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Cardiac MRI

Heart magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses powerful magnets (not X-rays or sound waves) to create 3-D pictures of your heart. An MRI can be done using contrast dye if your doctor wants to see vessels more clearly. This is called a magnetic resonance angiogram (MRA).

Your Baystate Health heart doctor may recommend an MRI to assess weakness or damage after a heart attack, to look for symptoms of heart failure, and to look for tumors or growths. An MRI shows narrowing or blockages in your carotid and peripheral arteries.

During the MRI, you lie on a narrow table that slides into a scanner. It’s important that you are not wearing any metal—jewelry, hair pins, eyeglasses, or fasteners, for example—since the scanner has very strong magnets. You enter the scanner and your technician will watch you from another room. You’ll be able to hear each other through an intercom.

If you are uncomfortable in small spaces, speak up. Your doctor may be able to give you medicine to relax. The test typically lasts 30 to 60 minutes.