Cardiac MRI Program
What to Expect

What to Expect at Your Cardiac MRI

An MRI is a way to take pictures of the body using a large magnet, radio waves and a computer. The MRI does not use radiation and no side effects have been reported from being in the magnetic field.

The MRI scanner is a large magnet with a circle-shaped opening. Some people say it looks like a tunnel.

Making an Appointment for Your Cardiac MRI

For more information about Cardiac MRI or to schedule an appointment, contact us.

Before Your Appointment

If the MRI is scheduled with anesthesia or sedation, an anesthesia imaging nurse will contact you with preparation instructions. These must be followed carefully.

If the MRI is not scheduled with sedation or anesthesia, your child may be asked to not eat four hours or drink two hours before the appointment.

On the Day of Your Cardiac MRI

Radiology staff will ask you to fill out some forms asking about allergies, medications, possibility of pregnancy, surgery and any implanted metal objects.

Your child will be asked to change into a hospital garment and remove all jewelry.

All metal and magnetic objects must be kept outside the room, including keys, jewelry, credit cards, beepers, cell phones and portable computers. Lockers are available to lock up and secure personal items.

At Your Appointment

There is a table that moves into the opening of the scanner during the test and the patient may hear a series of very loud noises such as hums, knocks, beeps, and clicks. These are normal sounds of the scanner.

The technologist will be able to talk with your child and tell them when the noises will occur and how long the sounds will last. A parent or guardian who has been MRI screened is welcome in the scan room if the child is awake. Child Life services are also provided and often utilized to optimize the experience for our younger patients.

The scanner does not touch or hurt the patient, however if an IV is required for contrast, minimal pain may occur during IV insertion. Contrast is a dye given to enhance the pictures.

The entire exam may take from 60-120 minutes. Expect to be in the department for at least two hours. Your child must hold still for each series of pictures that are three to eight minutes long. Your child may be able to wiggle slightly in between pictures.

If your child cannot hold still, it may be necessary to schedule the appointment with anesthesia or sedation.

Patients scheduled to be awake for the procedure may bring in a DVD to watch during the MRI. We also have a large selection of DVDs from which your child can choose.

After Your Cardiac MRI

Without sedation or anesthesia, your child should be able to resume normal activities immediately, unless your child’s physician instructs you otherwise.

Results will be available to the ordering doctor and in MyChart within 24 hours.