Magnetic resonance imaging is becoming very important in the initial diagnosis and subsequent management of heart disease. MRI can help physicians look closely at the structures and function of the heart and major vessels quickly and thoroughly, without the risks associated with traditional, more invasive procedures.
Using MRI, physicians can examine the size and thickness of the chambers of the heart, and determine the extent of damage caused by a heart attack or progressive heart disease. After a heart attack, for example, an MRI examination can help the cardiologist understand how well the heart is pumping, whether the flow of blood is blocked in any chamber or major vessel, whether the heart muscles are damaged, or whether the lining of the heart is swelling. This is critical knowledge needed to administer prompt and effective treatment.