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Cardiac MRI - Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the exam?
Most studies can be performed within 45 minutes.

Can patients with coronary stents be imaged safely?
Yes, cardiac stents pose no increased risk.

Can patients with artificial valves be imaged?
Yes, in most instances imaging can be done safely with the exception of some very old mechanical valves. It is valuable to provide us with information on the type of valve.

What about patients with metal implants?
Most implants are safe with some exceptions such as neural stimulators and cochlear implants. It is important to provide us with information on the type of implant. An X-ray of the implant or foreign body is very helpful if available.

Does my patient need contrast?
The majority of studies are significantly enhanced by the use of contrast so unless there is a contraindication such as history of allergy or low GFR, it is best to order with contrast. The exception is in patients with questions purely regarding valvular disease.

Is the contrast the same as iodine based-CT scans?
No, MRI uses Gadolinium which does not have the toxicities associated with iodinated contrast. However, in rare instances patients can have an allergic reaction. Also, patients with renal dysfunction (a creatinine clearance of less than 40 cc/min) are at risk for complications.

How do you handle claustrophobic patients?
Our staff is very experienced and has a number of methods to reduce claustrophobic anxiety in the magnet. We are able to image over 90% of referred patients, but occasionally there are patients too anxious to enter the magnet.

How do I schedule an appointment and what is the wait time?
Appointments are generally made through SFH’s Central Scheduling Department at (516) 629-2028. The wait time is usually a week or less.