Frequently asked questions

What is Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging?

Also known as Cardiac MRI, Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (CMR) is a safe, non-invasive technique used to assess the structure of the heart and how well it’s functioning. It provides high quality static and moving images of the heart, revealing important details that other tests simply cannot.

One of the greatest benefits of Cardiac MRI, is the ability to accurately target therapies, including angioplasty, bypass graft surgery, implantable defibrillators and bi-ventricular pacing.

You are welcome to bring a friend of relative with you to your appointment. If necessary, you may have someone accompany you into the scanning room, although this is always at the discretion of the radiographer. Anyone going into the room with a patient must successfully complete the safety checklist for themselves and will be asked to remove all metallic objects from their person.

There are a limited number of metered parking bays in local streets but patients are advised to park in local public car parks where possible.  We have negotiated discounted parking for our visitors

Yes.  We are recognised by all major UK based insurers. We would always recommend that you contact your health insurer prior to making an appointment to ensure that the cost of your appointment will be covered. Insurance provider contact details can be found in the ‘How to Pay’ section of this website. When you attend your appointment, please bring your insurance details including the authorisation number with you so that we can liaise with your insurer on your behalf.

If you require an interpreter to be present for your scan, you are advised to discuss your requirements with the private secretary of the consultant you are seeing. It is preferable to arrange an independent interpreter where possible so that your discussion with our staff is interpreted in a professional, and impartial manner. We are able to assist in arranging an interpreter if you require help. Please contact us to discuss your requirements.

The Chenies Mews Imaging Centre is fully wheelchair accessible and our facilities are all at ground level.

The Chenies Mews Imaging Centre is located at 69-75 Chenies Mews, London, WC1E 6HX.  We are close to Warren Street and Goodge Street Underground Stations (Northern Line) and close to the many major bus routes.  For a map and further directions, please see the contact details section of this website.

MRI scans can vary in duration a great deal, depending on what we need to scan and how much details we need to obtain.  We will be able to advise you how long you will be in the department at the time of booking, and the radiographer will always keep you updated during your scan.

If you have any comments or complaints about our service, the reception staff at the Chenies Mews Imaging Centre will be able to provide immediate assistance, or you may ask to speak to the registered manager.

We also have a formal complaints procedure which is as follows:

• All complaints are dealt with in a confidential manner and are fully investigated.
• All complaints will ordinarily be acknowledged within 2 working days, with a detailed reply within 20 working days if we are not able to address the problem immediately.
• If your complaint is of a serious nature and it takes longer to resolve, we will update you on the progress regularly.

Patients can also complain directly to the Care Quality Commission. However, the Care Quality Commission may decide that the complaint should be handled at a local level initially and return the complaint back to Chenies Mews Imaging Centre.

The Care Quality Commission can be contacted directly at:

Care Quality Commission
CQC National Customer Service Centre
Newcastle upon Tyne

Telephone: 0845 6013012

The cost of an MRI scan varies, depending on the area of the body we are scanning, the type of scanning we are doing and whether we need to use any contrast dyes or medicines during the scan.  If you are self-funding, then we will provide you with as accurate a quote as possible at the time of booking.

MRI can be used to assess how much blood is flowing to the heart muscle, to determine whether the muscle is alive or irreversibly scarred (also known as myocardial viability). The heart muscle will be categorised into one of three categories:

  • Alive and functioning normally
  • Alive but functionally impaired (viable but hibernating)
  • Irreversibly scarred

These categories are visualised to a level of detail up to 10 times that of other imaging techniques.


Following a heart attack, it is important that we examine the heart muscle to identify any damage. In order to do this, stress (or perfusion) CMR will be performed. This is when the heart is put under stress with medication to discover whether it’s damaged but still alive. If so, it can be made to work normally if the blood supply is restored. Where there is a large amount of viable myocardium, patients can often be helped with bypass surgery. On the other hand, if the damaged heart muscle is mostly scar, a bypass operation will not help. In severe cases a transplant may be necessary.

Stress CMR can also be used for the assessment of patients with chest pain at low or medium risk of coronary disease. Many of these patients would currently undergo treadmill exercise testing, which is often an inconclusive investigation and is followed either by nuclear imaging or by a coronary angiogram.


CMR is a key test for the aetiology of heart failure. It is the most reproducible way of measuring cardiac size and function. In many heart failure services, CMR is now considered essential. Novel and increasing roles for CMR in heart failure, include the assessment of dyscynchrony and cardiac iron quantification.


CMR is the best technique to evaluate cardiomyopathy. It allows highly reproducible assessments of ventricular size, function, mass and wall thickness. It is also possible to differentiate ischaemic from dilated cardiomyopathy. CMR may be used to track the development and recovery of acute myocarditis, to speed up the patient journey and allow for a more specific diagnosis. In many cases, diagnosis could have been made on a single examination, rather than multiple studies, as is the current norm.


This inherited blood disorder requires patients to undergo transfusions, which can cause iatrogenic cardiac iron overload. Despite being treatable and reversible if adequate intensive iron chelation therapy is started swiftly, approximately 50% of patients with thalassemia major die before reaching 35 years of age. CMR can detect high iron levels so that treatment can begin before the symptoms of heart failure occur.