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Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

A Cardiac MRI is done in the same machine as a normal MRI scan, but only takes pictures of the chest.

An MRI scan uses magnetic fields and radio waves to make pictures of the inside of your body.

You will be asked to lie in a short tunnel, which houses a special magnet. Short bursts of magnetic fields and radio waves are sent through your body. This takes about 30 to 45 minutes and you will need to lie still. The machine may make some banging noises while it’s scanning and this may be unpleasant for some people. However, the MRI scan is completely painless and harmless since radiation isn’t used.

The images will show very detailed pictures of the structure of your heart and blood vessels. The MRI can also measure the flow of blood through your heart and some of your major arteries.

From the scan your doctor can tell if your heart isn’t working properly and locate any problems with the structure of your heart.

Return to Common tests for heart failure


A series of 9 simple, captivating animations explaining heart failure and its treatment.

These narrated animations explain how a healthy heart works, what happens to it in heart failure and how various treatments work to improve your health.


Click to print these tools to help you monitor your heart failure


In this section you can watch, listen or read interviews with other people with heart failure and their caregivers.


and share your own views and experiences with other patients, families and caregivers.

heartfailurematers.org is a European Society of Cardiology website

The heartfailurematters.org website was developed under the direction of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC). The ESC is a world leader in the discovery and dissemination of best practices in cardiovascular medicine. Our members and decision-makers are healthcare professionals who volunteer their time and expertise to represent professionals in the field of cardiology in Europe and beyond.

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