Cardiac MRI allows cardiac imaging physician specialists to visualize any scarring of the heart muscle that might indicate a prior heart attack or other condition. Cardiac muscle can be scarred not only by heart attacks, but also by viral infections, infiltrative diseases, or autoimmune diseases that can attack the heart.
Cardiac MRI is now the preferred diagnostic study for the identification of congenital heart disease and for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the condition that causes thickening of the heart muscle that can lead to heart failure and sudden cardiac arrest.
Cardiac MRI imaging is conducted at St. Clair’s Dunlap Family Outpatient Center, where the Hospital’s MRI scanner has been specially equipped to perform it. The hour-long test is an interactive test, meaning that the patient is awake and responding to directions from the MRI technologist.
Many cardiac conditions can be missed by standard diagnostic tests, but cardiac MRI provides remarkable detail. Damage to the heart muscle as soon as a coronary artery is blocked can be seen. Cardiac MRI can even show the edema (fluid infiltrate) of the injured muscle.
Cardiac MRI has tremendous value to patients, and to their physicians. The demand for it is expected to increase rapidly.
Learn more about Cardiac MRI from our Mayo Clinic Health Information section