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    Diagnosing Heart Disease With MRI

    What Happens During the MRI Test?

    You will change into a hospital gown for your MRI test.

    The technician will place small sticky electrode patches on your chest and back. Men may expect to have their chest partially shaved to help the electrodes stick. The electrodes are attached to an electrocardiograph (ECG) monitor that charts your heart's electrical activity during the test.

    Most likely, an intravenous (IV) line will be inserted into a vein in your arm in order to inject a non-iodine based dye (known as "contrast material"). This makes your organs more visible in the pictures.

    The MRI scanner unit is a long tube that scans the body as you lie on a platform bed. It is fully lit and ventilated, and open at both ends. An intercom system allows you to talk to the scanner operators during the test. You will lie on your back on the scanner bed, with your head and legs elevated for comfort. During the exam, you will be asked to lie as still as possible. The technologist will ask you to hold your breath periodically for short periods in order to reduce blurring of the images from breathing motion.

    During scanning, the equipment may create loud banging noises, which can be muffled with headphones or earplugs you will receive before scanning begins.

    The MRI scan takes about 30 to 75 minutes, depending on the extent of imaging needed.

    What Happens After the MRI Test?

    Your doctor will discuss the MRI test results with you.

    If you received sedation, your doctor will give you instructions on when you can eat, drink, and return to normal activities. A companion should drive you home. If you did not receive sedation, you may resume your usual activities and normal diet immediately.

    Please ask your doctor if you have any questions about the MRI.

    WebMD Medical Reference

    Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on September 20, 2014
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