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Prior to Your Appointment

  • Do not drink or eat anything with caffeine for 24 hours before the MRI, as caffeine may affect the results. This includes coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate.
  • Do not eat for four hours before the MRI.

Arrival - One Hour Before the MRI

Meet with a radiology registered nurse who will:

  • Start two small IV’s.
  • Document current medications.
  • Discuss other necessary paperwork.

You will have an EKG to evaluate your current cardiac rhythm. It will be reviewed by a specially trained cardiologist or radiologist.

MRI Exam

Your MRI will occur in a spacious, open MRI scanner.

  • The test lasts approximately one hour and 15 minutes.
  • You will be lying down and will need to hold your breath for many short periods of time.
  • The scanner can be noisy, so we provide earplugs or headphones if you need them.

Stress Portion of the Exam

A drug called adenosine is injected through one of the IVs. Adenosine exists naturally in our bodies, but is given at a higher level for the test. It can cause symptoms such as tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, or a feeling of a “racing” heart while it is injected. These effects last less than a minute. Trained personnel monitor your vital signs during and after the injection. 

People with severe asthma should avoid adenosine, so let staff know if you are experiencing significant asthma symptoms. 

Contrast Imaging Portion of the Exam

After the stress portion, gadolinium is injected into the other IV. Gadolinium is a contrast agent that lets the cardiologist and radiologist get a better look at the heart muscle. There are no side effects associated with it – though it should be avoided in patients with severe kidney problems. 

Let the staff know if you have a history of kidney problems.