What is Magnetic resonance imaging of the heart with contrast medium (Cine MRI) and why is it performed?

Magnetic resonance imaging of the heart, also known as Cine MRI, is a diagnostic examination that allows the heart muscle in motion to be analysed in detail; thanks to a special apparatus, dynamic images can be obtained, which are then processed in the form of videos

Depending on requirements, this procedure can be performed either with or without contrast medium.

Cine MRI makes it possible to examine the anatomy of the heart and its functioning, in order to detect any abnormalities, malformations and disorders: it is one of the most reliable procedures for studying cardiac volumes, mass and function; it also makes it possible to check the atrial cavities, the functioning of the heart valves, the blood vessels responsible for myocardial blood supply and their flow rate.


Why MRI of the heart with contrast medium (Cine MRI) is performed

Magnetic resonance imaging of the heart is a specialist radiological examination that provides highly detailed information about the morphology and function of the heart muscle.

It makes it possible to analyse the health of the heart in detail, without resorting to invasive procedures; in particular, this examination is indicated for the diagnosis and monitoring of diseases and conditions, such as

  • congenital malformations or acquired heart defects
  • tumours affecting the heart;
  • particular forms of arrhythmias
  • primary or secondary cardiomyopathies;
  • fibrosis of the myocardium;
  • damage assessment following myocardial necrosis or infarction;
  • pathologies and inflammations of the pericardium (pericarditis);
  • diseases and dysfunctions of the aorta;
  • valvulopathies or defects in the heart valve system;
  • coronary artery dysfunctions or malformations.


How should I prepare for MRI of the heart with contrast medium (Cine MRI)

MRI of the heart requires no special preparation.

Prior to the procedure, the patient undergoes a thorough history to detect any allergies, a thorough physical examination, including a cardiological examination and an analysis of renal function.

On the day of the procedure, if contrast medium is to be used, a fast of at least 4-6 hours is recommended; if Cine MRI also includes the study of perfusion under pharmacological stress, the patient must abstain from taking excitatory substances in the preceding 12 hours and, on the doctor’s advice, it may be necessary to discontinue any pharmacological therapies beforehand.

Prior to the examination, the patient is also asked to remove any metal objects, make-up or contact lenses.

In addition, although in most cases it is not a problem, it is good practice to inform healthcare professionals if you have undergone surgery with coronary stents, if you have post-cardiac sternal sutures or if you have implants and prostheses.

Cine MRI cannot, however, be performed by patients with pacemakers or magnetically activated devices; it is also not recommended during the first trimester of pregnancy.

In general, it is a non-invasive procedure, with the exception of the intravenous administration of contrast medium, which is not painful and carries no particular risk; the only discomfort the patient may feel is caused by the noise of the instrument in operation.

*This is indicative information: it is therefore necessary to contact the facility where the examination is being performed to obtain specific information on the preparation procedure.

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