Is cardiac MRI safe?

Dr Charlotte Manisty
Professor Charlotte Manisty
Consultant Cardiologist

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When your doctor refers you for any diagnostic test or investigation, they will always consider why the test is necessary and make an informed decision as to whether the benefit of you having that test outweighs any possible risk posed from that test.  When used correctly by trained staff within a safe and effective department, magnetic resonance imaging (or MRI for short) is one of the safest diagnostic tests in common use.  Our specialist facilities perform around 6000 scans every year, a mere drop in the ocean of the circa 3 million MRI scans performed each year across the UK.



Unlike an X-ray or CT scan, there is no ionising (potentially damaging) radiation associated with MRI.   For this reason, MRI is deemed to be perfectly safe for children, pregnant women and for taking picture of areas of the body which might be regarded to at higher risk of damage from radiation.

Generally, within cardiac MRI, a dye injection is used. This has also been shown to be safe, although we are aware of a few occasions where patients should not have this dye. This is generally when patients have severe kidney problems.

Under normal circumstances, MRI is a very safe imaging method.

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