Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a diagnostic imaging technology that uses strong magnet and radiofrequency waves to produce images of the heart and blood vessels. There is no radiation produced during acquisition of images by MRI. Because MRI allows us to non-invasively see inside the heart and blood vessels from any angle and with great clarity, it has replaced more invasive and time-consuming diagnostic modalities for many types of cardiac problems.
What To Expect
Upon arrival at Maine Medical Center, you should go to the Radiology Department. There you will be required to complete a questionnaire to ensure it is safe to proceed with the scan (see below). A typical scan takes 1-1.5 hours. Expect to spend 2 hours in the MRI division. In preparation for the scan, ECG leads will be attached to your skin and an intravenous line may be required. During the scan, you will be asked to hold your breath multiple times. These breath holds last ~ 6-12 secs depending on the picture being taken. It is very important to lay still during the study. If you are claustrophobic, please discuss this with your cardiologist as we can prescribe medications to be taken the evening and morning prior to the study. If you are given such medications, you should have someone else come to drive you home.
Magnets and Metal Don’t Mix
- You must let us know if you have a pacemaker, surgical clips, prosthesis, metal implants or any other metal objects in your body. If so, we will determine whether or not you should proceed with the MRI.
- Any metal materials that might be affected by or attracted to the powerful magnet used for MR imaging should be left at home or given to the MRI staff for safekeeping. This list includes your watch, coins, keys, bobby pins, credit cards, and such things as pocket knives.
- You should also be certain that you are free of metal flakes or slivers on your skin, as found in some eye make-up or as a result of working around metal finishing or grinding equipment.