Back to Basics: Cardiac MRI

Cindy Schultz, PhD

*Owner/Medical Writer, Monarch Medical Writing, Ferrisburgh, VT.

Address correspondence to: Cindy Schultz, PhD.  E-mail:

Disclosure statement: The author reports having no significant financial or advisory relationships with corporate organizations related to this activity.


Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) is an excellent imaging modality that is the gold standard for assessing many cardiovascular abnormalities. CMR holds several advantages over other imaging modalities used to evaluate the heart, most notably that it is noninvasive, does not expose the patient to ionizing radiation, and provides functional and anatomical information about the heart, great vessels, and valves. In order for radiologic technologists to perform successful CMR studies, in-depth knowledge of both the anatomy of the heart and MR physics are essential. This course will review cardiac anatomy, as well as technical considerations of CMR including MRI physics, imaging planes, techniques/pulse sequences, contrast agents, patient preparation, imaging equipment, safety considerations, postimaging evaluation, CMR indications, and cardiac pathology. The pathology of coronary artery disease, cardiomyopathies, cardiac masses, pericardial disease, valvular disease, congenital heart disease, and diseases of the aorta and great vessels will also be presented. Finally, the current utility of interventional CMR will also be outlined.

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