A cardiac MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan shows extremely detailed pictures of your heart. Having medical attention for possible or diagnosed cardiac problems can be worrying but an MRI scan often provides your doctors with an important opportunity to look at detailed images of your heart. This will help them to gain a clear understanding of what, if any, problems you have in order to plan appropriate treatment.
A referral letter from a consultant or GP is required before booking any diagnostic investigation.
If you've had chest pains or other symptoms of possible or diagnosed heart problems, such as arrhythmia, a cardiac MRI scan allows your doctors to see how your heart is functioning.
MRI scans have been routinely used as a key diagnostic tool for years. Doctors are able to see both moving and still images of parts of the body they could previously only see through invasive surgery.
If you decide to have the scan with us, you’ll be cared for by a team who understand what you’re feeling and are dedicated to getting the best results for you. You can choose the location and time of your scan, with no waiting times so you can quickly get on the right treatment path for your condition.
Since 2007 we've invested £500 million into our hospitals and staff. Our patients can gain rapid access to some of the latest generation diagnostic imaging equipment and treatments.
We don't just offer diagnostics, but take an integrated medical approach so we will organise any other cardiac care that you may need.
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Our patients are at the heart of what we do and we want you to be in control of your care.
All of our radiographers are of the highest standard and benefit from working in our modern, well-equipped hospitals.
You will need a referral letter from a consultant or GP before booking any diagnostic investigation.
You will have a formal consultation with a healthcare professional. During this time you will be able to explain your medical history, symptoms and raise any concerns that you might have.
We will also discuss with you whether any further diagnostic tests, such as scans or blood tests, are needed. Any additional costs will be discussed before further tests are carried out.
You can ask us about these issues or anything else about the MRI scan.
We’ve tried to make your experience with us as easy and relaxed as possible.
For more information on visiting hours, our food, parking and all those other important practicalities, please visit our patient information page.
We will tell you if we are going to use a special dye (known as contrast) to improve the images from your particular scan. This will be injected through a vein in your hand or arm. It’s important you know this in advance as sometimes people are asked not to eat or drink anything for four to six hours before the scan if we are going to use contrast.
We're here to listen and to make sure you and your doctors make good treatment decisions based on the best tests and scans available.
We understand that having an MRI scan can make some people nervous, particularly if you’re claustrophobic. Our experienced and caring clinical staff will be there for you, holding your hand, every step of the way. It's pain free but If you think you’re likely to be anxious during it, or feel claustrophobic, your doctor and they might give you a mild sedative.
The scanner is open at both ends.
A cardiac MRI scan usually lasts for around half an hour but may take longer than that if your doctor has asked for many photos from different angles. If you need to talk to the radiographer operating the scanner you can press a buzzer.
If contrast (a special type of dye) is needed to get the best results from your particular scan, we’ll inject it into a vein in your arm or hand. A nurse will also put electrodes (small patches) on your chest to record your heart’s electrical activity.
You’ll be lying on a bed that slides into the MRI scanner.
The scanner’s equipment will take images that can be printed or stored on a computer.
Try to keep still while you’re in the scanner as fidgeting or moving about blurs the image. Our expert radiographer (the person performing the scan) might ask you to hold your breath for a few seconds at times.
You might hear noises from the equipment but we’ll offer you earplugs and earphones so you can listen to music.
Many people can even find the experience quite relaxing.
You’ll almost certainly be able to leave hospital straight after the scan and get on with your everyday activities. However if you have had a sedative, you won’t be able to drive. Ask a friend or relative if they can take you home. If you have a contrast (dye) injection, we’ll ask you to drink lots of water to help your kidneys flush the dye out of your system.
If anything out of the ordinary is found during the scan, we offer integrated medical care and can create a treatment plan to help put you back on the road to good health.
A radiologist will analyse the results and they will be sent direct to your GP. If you have had the results within two weeks please contact your doctor directly. You can ask the radiologist when your results will be ready.
We are committed to delivering excellent individual care and customer service across our network of hospitals, clinics and specialist care centres around the UK. Our dedicated and highly trained team aim to achieve consistently excellent results. For us it's more than just treating patients, it's about looking after people.
The treatment described on this page may be adapted to meet your individual needs, so it's important to follow your healthcare professional's advice and raise any questions that you may have with them.