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Stress Cardiac MRI

Cardiac MRI is a diagnostic exam that gives us structural and functional information about your heart and surrounding area, such as blood vessels within your chest.

With Stress Cardiac MRI, we capture images of your heart at rest, then inject a solution (Adenosine) into your arm to temporarily stress the heart, as if you were exercising.

We compare these rest/stress images of your heart to check for imbalances of blood flow to the left ventricular muscle tissue. The left ventricle of the heart performs the greatest amount of work to pump blood around the body.

If you have questions about Stress Cardiac MRI or would like to schedule an appointment at Franciscan Health Valparaiso CDI, please call us.

  • A Franciscan Health Valparaiso representative will call you the day before your procedure to discuss what medications and foods should be avoided the day of the exam.

  • Please bring to your appointment any previous imaging study results (MRI, CT, X-rays) such as reports, films or CD-Roms, if available.

  • Because of the magnetic field, you will be asked to wear metal-free clothing, or to change into a gown. You also will be asked to remove any metallic objects, such as jewelry, watches, and hair clips.

  • Inform your technologist of prior surgeries or metal implants, such as pacemakers or aneurysm clips.

  • Notify a member of CDI’s staff if you are nursing or if there is a chance you could be pregnant.

  • Please arrive 15 minutes early to verify your registration.

  • Once comfortably positioned lying down, electrodes are attached to your chest to monitor your heart rhythm, and a special imaging device (called a coil) is secured over your chest.

  • The table is moved into the magnet opening. As images are acquired, you will hear “knocking” and/or “buzzing” sounds for a few minutes at a time.

  • A blood pressure cuff will be placed on your arm so that you can be monitored before, during and after stress.

  • Two IVs will be placed in your arms. A saline solution will drip through one intravenous line to prevent clotting until the contrast material is injected, about two-thirds of the way through the exam.

  • The second IV will be used to inject a prescribed medication (Adenosine) over several minutes.

  • Your blood pressure will be checked intermittently. Tell the technologist if you experience any symptoms such as chest pain, dizziness, weakness, lightheaded, or leg fatigue.

  • It is important to lie as still as possible during the exam. You will be asked to hold your breath for several seconds at a time as MR pictures are taken of your heart.

  • Near the end of the stress injection period, and depending on your blood pressure or heart rate, the technologist may inject a contrast material to enhance the visibility of the heart’s chambers and major vessels. 

  • If you have a history of diabetes or kidney disease, a BUN/creatinine lab test may need to be performed prior to receiving contrast during your exam. Results are available within minutes.

  • Once the contrast is injected, you will feel a cold sensation and experience a salty taste in your mouth. The nurse will discontinue adenosine in the second IV at this time.

  • After stopping “exercise,” you will continue to be monitored until your heart rate and blood pressure return to pre-exercise/injection levels.

  • Time in the scanner will range from 45 minutes to 90 minutes depending on the areas of the heart and chest being evaluated. Plan to be at our center for one to two hours.

  • A cardiologist will review your images and prepare a diagnostic report to share with your doctor.

  • Your doctor will consider this information in context of your overall care, and will talk with you about the results.


If you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us.