Cardiac MRI

Summary

Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a safe, noninvasive test that creates detailed still and moving pictures showing the inside of your heart and major blood vessels. It does not use ionising radiation but radio waves, magnets and a computer to create detailed images.

  • Arranging your Treatment

    Before going ahead with this treatment, you will need to have an initial consultation with a specialist Consultant to go through your medical history and diagnosis. At this appointment, your consultant will confirm the exact treatment you require. If you would like to have an initial consultation, you can call us and we can help you find the consultant best for you. Alternatively, if you have already been diagnosed as needing a particular operation or treatment, our Reservations team can give you a guide price for this to be carried out at KIMS Hospital and book an appointment for you to meet a consultant. Call our sales advisors on 01622 237 727 or email enquiries@kims.org.uk.

  • Paying for your Treatment

    You can be treated at KIMS by using your private medical insurance or by paying for yourself. If you have private medical insurance, you will need to contact your insurer to ensure you are covered for the initial consultation prior to making an appointment and obtain an authorisation number. The insurance company will then need to be advised if you require further treatment. The insurance company usually settles bills on your behalf. If you are paying for your own treatment, you will need to pay for an initial consultation. This will be confirmed at the time of booking but is typically £150-£250. You will also need to pay for any associated diagnostic tests your consultant recommends (for example x-rays and blood tests). Following this consultation, if you don’t need any further treatment or if you decide paying for yourself isn’t the right option, there is no commitment to proceed further. If you require the operation or procedure to be carried out, you will receive a quote for your treatment. In most case this will be the fixed price package quoted on this website. If this quote is different for any reason, we will provide an explanation (see what’s included below). This quote is also subject to pre-assessment checks prior to your admission to hospital. Payment is required 7 days prior to admission.

Why cardiac MRI, and what can it do for me?

By accurately and precisely assessing the heart’s structure (muscle, chambers and valves) and function (how well the heart is pumping), cardiac MRI can uniquely evaluate and check for structural problems with the heart and answer questions that we previously could not.

It has the unique ability to guide treatment and intervention and allow potentially risky therapies such as bypass grafts, angioplasty, implantable defibrillators to be better targeted.

Cardiac MRI can also look at the blood supply to your heart in both resting and stress conditions (myocardial perfusion) and determine accurately whether heart muscle is alive or irreversibly damaged (viability).  It can detect and evaluate the effects of coronary heart disease and help determine not only whether chest pain is due to blocked arteries but also which coronary arteries may be the culprit.  This can be done with a high degree of accuracy.

Of particular importance is the assessment of patients with damaged hearts following a heart attack.  After a heart attack, heart muscle may be damaged but still alive and can recover if the blood supply is restored with either angioplasty or bypass surgery.  However if too much muscle is damaged then restoration of blood supply will not help.

There are many different types and causes of heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathies) from inherited to inflammatory and cardiac MRI is the best technique to evaluate these.  For many conditions, cardiac MRI is the gold standard test with an extensive and growing evidence base.  It provides prognostic evidence, changes patient management and reduces the need for other tests.

What happens during a cardiac MRI scan?

You will be asked to complete a safety questionnaire which will involve answering a few questions.  In the scan room you will lie on a bed, which moves inside the scanner.  You will be given head phones which will enable instructions to be heard.

The scan can take 50-90 minutes and a buzzer will be provided if you need to speak to the radiographer.  You will need to keep still during the scan as movement can blur the pictures.  You will also need to hold your breath for most of the pictures.

A contrast agent, which is a dye, will be injected into a vein in the arm.  The test is pain free but some patients may be anxious about the procedure. However, there will be plenty of staff who will be there right to the very end.  If you are claustrophobic (afraid of being in small spaces) tell us before the test.

Cardiac MRI Images

The videos below show a cardiac MRI of a beating heart in a patient with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a disease that causes abnormal thickening of the heart muscle. The images on the left show the abnormal fibrosis and scar in the thickened muscle indicated by the white arrows.

   

What to expect afterwards?

The scan and images will be reviewed (and in most cases the scan will be directly supervised with the radiographers) by an expert specialist cardiothoracic radiologist (a doctor who specialises in using imaging methods to diagnose heart and lung conditions).  A report will be produced and sent to your doctor or GP who referred you for the test.  You will be notified when to expect to receive the results.

To find out more:

If you would like to come to KIMS, contact our sales advisors on 01622 237 727 or email enquiries@kims.org.uk

Our Consultants

  • Dr Swamy Gedela

    FRCR BSCI Level 3 (highest) cardiac CT accreditation SCMR level 3 (highest) Cardiac MRI certification

    • Cardiac MRI