Skip main navigation

Your guide to a cardiac MRI

A video from the British Heart Foundation on cardiac MRI. This video is part of a free online course on heart health.
This film will show you what to expect if you are having a cardiac MRI scan.
I am Jackie [INAUDIBLE]. I live in Manchester. I’m here for an MRI scan. Long history of heart problems, two heart attacks. Here today to follow up to see what’s going on at the back of the heart. I have no problems with the MRI scan today. I’m just curious. I want to know what the next process is. My name is Mattea Schmidt. I’m the cardiogram service lead here at the University Hospital of South Manchester. MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. This image allows us to see the structure and the function of the heart in great detail.
Safety checks will be performed prior to performing the study so that no metallic objects are brought within the vicinity of the scanner and into the scanner environment. In general, magnetic resonance imaging and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging are very safe. My name is Lenin Francis, and I’m a cardiac MRI radiographer.
For most of the patient’s, we normally give them a contrast or a dye. It’s just a colourless fluid. It’s to look at the heart muscles to see if there’s any scar tissues. Like basically, like if they had any previous heart attack or any viral infections.
Throughout the study, on average lasts between 35 and 40 minutes, the patient is asked to breathe in, breathe out, and at various stages to hold his breath, and beyond that, it is really only important that the patient lies very still. With respect to coronary stents, there are no issues with implanted coronary stents in the MRI environment. You OK, Jacqueline? Yeah. Just checking your blood pressure now. Because we are doing heart scans, we normally talk to the patients and we give them also breathing instructions. Breathe in. Breathe out. Hold your breath. The scans are really noisy. In order to protect them from the noise, we normally give them ear defenders.
Some of the patients who come for cardiac scans, they are claustrophobic. We do give them sedation, which is quite helpful for the patients. You OK, Jacqueline? I’m fine. Very well. I’m just setting up the next scan. If a patient comes and tells us that they’ve got a pacemaker, we normally don’t scan them, because it can actually cause damage to the patient. The MRI scan, as a process when it got more comfortable, you got used to your surroundings. Hopefully, I’ll pick up.
Heart disease is still the single biggest killer in the UK. But for over 50 years, we’ve tirelessly pioneered research that has helped transform the lives of people living with heart and circulatory conditions. Join our fight for every heartbeat in the UK. Every pound raised, every minute of your time, and every donation to our shops will help make a difference.

Do you have a cardiac MRI coming up? Watch this video to find out what to expect.

You can also find out more about cardiac MRI scans and why they are useful to help determine how well the heart is functioning, in Dr Sam Boateng’s video on Heart failure shown earlier in the week.

This article is from the free online

Heart Health: A Beginner's Guide to Cardiovascular Disease

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education