A basic guide to what you need to know
In the past few years, the imaging of cardiovascular diseases has changed. There are various means of investigating cardiovascular diseases, including colour Doppler ultrasound, echocardiogram, computed tomography, cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and the more invasive intra-arterial angiography. Although once a specialist topic, cardiovascular MRI is fast becoming the preferred investigation for cardiovascular disease. Many requests for this investigation are made by doctors in their early years of training, and all requests must be discussed with a radiologist before they are accepted. This can be daunting, particularly when starting as a newly qualified doctor and unsure of what the radiologist would like to know about your patient.
Cardiovascular MRI is a technique to generate images of the heart (cardiac MRI) and arteries (magnetic resonance angiography, MRA). A simple description of how MRI works will be provided. MRI produces images of the body by exploiting the magnetic properties of mainly hydrogen