Cardiac MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) – St Vincent’s Hospital

A patient may be referred, after a consultation with one of our cardiologists,  for a Cardiac MRI at St Vincent’s Hospital if deemed necessary.

St Vincent’s Hospital has Australia’s largest number of SCMR level 3 (the highest international certification) certified cardiologists. St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney has two cardiac MRI capable MRI machines including a 3T Philips Achieva and 1.5T Philips Ingenia with the latest dStream technology.

Cardiac MRI  enables clear pictures of the heart to be taken in three dimensions and may be used to diagnose many life threatening heart conditions that are not visible by other imaging modalities. Cardiac MRI may be used to detect scar tissue, inflammation and infection of the heart and it is a key test to determine the cause of heart failure, cardiomyopathy and arrhythmias. Cardiac MRI is routinely performed for any proven or suspected congenital heart disease, anomalous coronary arteries, aortic disease and ischemic heart disease and many other conditions.

Cardiac MRI is a medical imaging technique used to visualize detailed internal structures of the heart and blood vessels. It is a well-established and powerful diagnostic test for the assessment of a range of heart and vascular diseases. Assessments made using cardiac MRI do not require any harmful radiation. This form of imaging is very safe for most patients. It is a highly accurate and non-invasive technique that provides assessment of both heart tissue structure and function by using the natural signal from small particles (nuclei of atoms) inside the body. The MRI scanners act as large magnets and the heart images come from magnetic signals given out by small parts of the cells (the Hydrogen atoms in water and fat) within the heart.

During the cardiac MRI scan the patient usually lies on their back on a table which slides into the scanner. The scanner is open at both ends, like a large donut. The radiographer and patient can speak to each other during the scan, which can take, on average, 40 minutes to complete. Often an intravenous dye is injected into an arm vein during the scan to help highlight various regions of the heart. Images that are taking can assess for birth defects, many heart muscle diseases and to help investigate the causes of symptoms which may come from the heart, such as collapses and chest pain.

Cardiac MRI is a specialized heart test only available in a few centers throughout Sydney. St. Vincent’s Hospital has two different cardiac MRI scanners with a team of radiographers and doctors very experienced with this technique.

List of conditions where Cardiac MRI is useful

  1. Ischemic Heart Disease (Heart attacks).
  2. Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure.
  3. Arrhythmia
  4. Atrial fibrillation ablation planning
  5. Hypertension
  6. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
  7. Athlete’s heart
  8. Amyloidosis
  9. Thalasemia and blood transfusions
  10. Valvular heart disease