MRI Heart Scan

What is an MRI Heart Scan?

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce detailed pictures of the structures within the heart.

Why do I need to have a MRI Heart Scan?

Cardiac MRI is used to detect or monitor cardiac disease and to evaluate the heart’s anatomy and function in patients with congenital heart disease.

How long will my MRI Heart Scan take?

You will be lying in the scanner for approximately 30-60 minutes, and to remain as still as possible to ensure the resulting images are movement free. The lengths of the sequences vary – from a few seconds to several minutes. The radiographer will let you know how long each sequence is going to last, and remind you to stay very still. Some of the short scans require you to hold your breath. These “breath holds” will last from 10 to 20 seconds.

Will I feel anything during my MRI Heart Scan?

The scan will usually take place with you lying on your back. Lightweight equipment will be placed on top of or around the region being scanned. As the scanner is very noisy whilst the scan is taking place, (it sounds like a very loud drill) you will be given headphones to wear. If you wish, you are able to bring a CD of your own to listen to during the scan.

The scanning process is painless, and does not use X-rays.

You will be able to communicate with staff throughout the scan, and you will be given an emergency buzzer. For your comfort, there is fresh air coming through the scanner.


If you have experienced claustrophobia, or have trouble in enclosed spaces please call to discuss with the MRI staff before your appointment. Some people find that having a friend or relative in the room for support is enough to help relieve anxiety. Everyone who enters the room will need to complete a safety sheet.

Is there anything I need to do to prepare for my MRI Heart Scan?

Cardiac scans require that you have no caffeine for 24 hours prior.

How long will it take for the results of my MRI Heart Scan?

The radiologist will review your images and send a report to your referring doctor. You should make an appointment with your doctor to go over the results.

Where will I have my MRI Heart Scan done?

Either at The Centre for Advanced MRI at the University of Auckland Medical School on Grafton Road, or at TRG Imaging at 209 Shakespeare Road, Milford.

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Ascot Hospital, Level 3
90 Greenlane East
Remuera, Auckland 1051
PO Box 17264,
Greenlane, Auckland 1546

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