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Cardiovascular Institute

Cardiac MRI

Cardiac MRI is a relatively inexpensive, non-invasive diagnostic test that acquires high-resolution and high-fidelity films of the beating heart and displays these results in near-real time and often in 3D. Radiation is not used and injected dyes are typically not required for many indications in cardiac MRI. A cardiac MRI stress test option is now also available.

Allegheny General Hospital is the only facility in Pennsylvania to offer dedicated cardiac MRI for unprecedented imaging of the heart—and the first to demonstrate that advanced cardiac MRI is better than conventional diagnostics for predicting heart attacks in women. Furthermore, the Allegheny Cardiac MRI Lab was one of the first to investigate and use cardiac MRI.

In general, cardiac MRI is useful in evaluating the following:

  • Left and right cardiac structure and function
  • Evaluation of recovery after a heart attack, including viability and perfusion
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Thoracic aortic disease, including dissections and aneurysms
  • Large artery and vein disorders
  • Pericardial disease
  • Evaluation of coronary artery disease, including resting and stress perfusion
  • Tumors around the heart or blood vessels
  • Valvular disorders

A cardiac MRI test may generally also be ordered for patients in whom echocardiography is not technically feasible or when unsatisfactory echocardiographic images are produced. A cardiac MRI test may also be requested if a doctor would like a second opinion about any cardiovascular disease or to gain a better understanding of your medical condition.

Results are reported to the referring physician within 24 hours.

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