Who Performs Cardiac MRI?
The cardiac MRI test is performed by a specially trained MRI technologist, with continuous assistance from a pediatric MRI radiologist and a pediatric MRI cardiologist. The input of all these personnel is essential for achieving the most complete cardiac study, and explains why testing times are limited.
The study will be interpreted in detail by both a pediatric MRI cardiologist and pediatric MRI radiologist. The final report, including detailed numerical analysis and movie clips, will be available to your child's pediatric cardiologist within a few days.
Most patients do not require sedation. Some young adult patients do have claustrophobia and difficulty lying in the magnet for a prolonged period. For these patients, a single dose of oral diazepam (Valium) usually provides adequate anxiety relief for them to tolerate the scan.
Breathing instructions will be given during the duration of the exam. It is optimal for the patient to be able to hold their breath when coached, but the scan can be completed without breath-holds. As long as they can remain still and breathe comfortably, children can generally tolerate a cardiac MRI scan by simply watching a movie (on specially equipped “Virtual Reality” goggles) or listening to music. Anesthesia is usually only needed for children less than 6 years of age (depending on the maturity level of the child).
When general anesthesia is required, the Department of Anesthesiology runs the sedation, under the guidance of an attending anesthesiologist.
Child Has Had Metal Clips / Implants Placed. Can He / She Still Undergo a Cardiac MRI?
Metal clips / implant will not usually affect the MRI. The only permanent, implanted devices absolutely not allowed in the MRI scanner are implanted defibrillators, since the powerful MRI magnet can theoretically disrupt the defibrillator function. The magnet does not disrupt function of other metal devices, such as implanted artificial heart valves, metal sternal wire, braces on the teeth, clips, or other devices. Certain selected patients with pacemakers can now also safely undergo MRI studies, though this is reserved for very special circumstances and requires even more planning and personnel.
Any removable metal on the patient or clothes should be removed. If your child has had numerous metal devices placed, in his / her chest, artifacts from the devices may obscure useful pictures of the heart. Although this does not make the procedure unsafe, it may make it un-useful. Therefore, in patients will several metal devices and / or coils in the chest, a chest X-ray may be performed prior to the MRI so that the MRI radiologist and cardiologist can make sure there will not be too much interference.