What is an MRI?

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a large imaging device that sits in its own room. It uses a harmless magnetic field and radio waves to get clear, sharp pictures of  your heart and major blood vessels.

MRI images show even more detail than CT scans, and can be viewed in 3-D on a computer screen.

Person entering MRI machine.

Why it’s done

Heart MRI is used to diagnose many disease and conditions, including:

What you can expect
  • You will lie on a flat bed, and will then be moved inside the opening of the MRI device.
  • The procedure will take approximately 30 minutes.
  • You may find it difficult to stay motionless for that length of time, but the procedure itself is painless.
Related information

Learn more about a cardiac MRI from the Ottawa Heart Institute