Cardiac (heart) MRI images allow physicians to better determine the presence of certain diseases that may not be as easily seen with other imaging methods such as x-ray or ultrasound. This makes MRI an invaluable tool in early diagnosis and evaluation of cardiac abnormalities, especially those involving the heart muscle.
Cardiac MRI helps:
- evaluate the anatomy (structure) and function of the heart chambers, valves, major vessels, and surrounding structures such as the pericardium (the fluid filled sac that surrounds the heart)
- diagnose a variety of cardiovascular (heart and/or blood vessel) disorders such as tumours, infections, and inflammatory conditions
- detect and evaluate the effects of coronary artery disease such as limited blood flow to the heart muscle and scarring within the heart muscle after a heart attack
- plan a patient’s treatment for cardiovascular disorders
- monitor a patient’s progression over time
- evaluate the anatomy of the heart and blood vessels in children with congenital (present from birth) heart disease.
Using cardiac MRI, doctors can:
- examine the size of the heart chambers and the thickness of the heart wall
- determine the extent of myocardial (heart muscle) damage and effect on pump function caused by a heart attack or progressive heart disease
- detect the build up of plaque and blockages in blood vessels
- assess a patient’s recovery following treatment
- evaluate the heart anatomy, pump function, heart valve function and vascular blood flow both before and after surgical repair of congenital cardiovascular disease in children and adults.
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