CARDIAC MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING (CMR)

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) is an imaging method that uses a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner to look at the structures and blood vessels of the heart. MRI is a noninvasive medical test that helps physicians diagnose and treat medical conditions. MRI uses a strong magnetic field, radio frequency pulses and a computer to produce detailed images of the body. CMR can produce both still and moving images of the heart. The images can then be examined on a computer monitor. MRI does not use ionizing radiation (x-rays), and does not increase risk of cancer.

CMR imaging can help to diagnose or monitor treatment for conditions such as:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Damage caused by a heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Heart valve problems
  • Congenital heart defects
  • Pericardial disease (a disease that affects the tissues around the heart)
  • Cardiac tumors

CMR imagining may be used to:

  • Help explain results from other tests, such as x ray and CT scans.
  • Avoid the need for other tests that use radiation, invasive procedures, and dyes containing iodine (which may be harmful to people who have kidney problems).

PREPARING FOR A CMR PROCEDURE

Preparation for an CMR procedure depends on types of procedure. For those CMR procedures with contrast, patient must not drink or eat 4 hours prior to procedure.

According to the recommendation of American College of Radiology regarding the intravenous gadolinium contrast given to contrast enhanced MRI and MRA procedures, all patients scheduled for MRI & MRA with contrast must have a serum CREATININE and BUN within the past 90 days.

  • internal (implanted) defibrillator or pacemaker
  • cochlear (ear) implant
  • some types of clips used on brain aneurysms
  • metal pins, screws, plates, stents or surgical staples

You should tell your doctor and/or the technologist if you have medical or electronic devices, or any other metal objects in your body, because they may interfere with the exam or potentially pose a risk, depending on their nature. Your doctor will determine whether to proceed with the CMR test or order a different test to diagnose your condition.


BEFORE AN MRI PROCEDURE

The patient should wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing for any MRI procedure and leave all jewelry and valuables at home. Metal and electronic objects are not allowed in the procedure room.

Please bring the followings items with you:

  • Prescription or referral from your physician
  • Insurance cards and identity cards issued by government
  • Laboratory results containing a serum CREATININE and BUN within the past 90 days if required

DURING AN MRI PROCEDURE

WHERE IS THE PROCEDURE PERFORMED

Our cardiac MRI procedures are conducted at Synergy Imaging Center which is located directly above our main SCHC Medical Offices at 506 W. Valley Blvd in San Gabriel.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN DURING THE PROCEDURE?

You may be asked to wear a gown and complete a questionnaire which will determine if an MRI is safe or not. The MRI technologist will explain the procedure and answer any questions the you have.

An intravenous line will be set up if a contrast is requested by the referring physician. Unlike the case with x rays, the contrast 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.

You will be asked to lie down on the scanning table, head-first with arms at your side. Coils (special devices to improve image quality) may be placed around the area of interest. The scanning table will then slide into the magnet.

During the scan, the patient will not feel anything, but will hear intermittent humming, thumping, clicking and knocking sounds. Earplugs will be provided to help mask the noise and allow you to listen to music.

If a contrast agent is required for the procedure, the contrast agent will be injected through an intravenous line at your arm, which may cause a cool sensation.

When taking images, you must hold very still, and in some cases, hold your breath briefly. The technologist is always able to communicate with you through the inter-com system during the procedure, and will provide instructions during the test.

A MRI procedure takes approximately 30 - 60 minutes.


AFTER AN MRI PROCEDURE

After a MRI procedure, a patient can resume normal activity.

All the MRI studies will be reviewed by a cardiologist who specializes in interpretation of CMR images. The result will be sent to referring physician. To request a copy of medical record images on a CD or a copy of report, please contact our office. They will be provided upon request for a nominal fee.