OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital recently added cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to its array of imaging services for the heart, providing s painless, non-invasive scan offers best view yet of heart muscle and surrounding tissues.
The state-of-the-art MRI scanner helps physicians evaluate and diagnose coronary heart disease, heart failure, valve problems, inflammation, cardiac tumors and damage from heart attacks.
“This is advanced imaging technology, better than any other imaging currently available,” said OhioHealth cardiologist Jennifer Dickerson, MD, a specialist in cardiac imaging. “It demonstrates the commitment from OhioHealth to provide advanced care for cardiac conditions and to keep care local, so our patients no longer have to drive to Columbus or Cleveland for such services.”
Cardiac MRI is a painless, non-invasive and radiation-free test that uses a powerful magnetic field, radio waves and a computer to produce clear pictures of the heart muscle, its major vessels, bone and soft tissue.
An MRI scan can evaluate effects of coronary artery disease, help plan a patient’s treatment for cardiovascular disorders and monitor the progression of cardiovascular disease.
Mansfield Hospital mainly employs cardiac MRI it in conjunction with other testing, such as X-rays, echocardiogram and computed tomography (CT), to give physicians more information and help them determine the best course of treatment.
The hospital has performed dozens of scans since it acquired cardiac MRI in the summer. MRI most frequently has been used at the hospital to diagnose and manage heart failure, in which the heart fails to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs, Dickerson said.
The MRI procedure takes about an hour and requires that patients lie still on a table inside a tunnel-like machine. Before the scan, patients receive an intravenous injection of contrasting dye. While inside the tube, patients can talk with the technologist, who asks them to periodically hold their breath for a few seconds to reduce respiratory motion.
Constant movement of the beating heart “always has been the challenge of cardiac imaging,” Dickerson said. “But our pictures are gauged to the heart’s rhythm to help control that.”
In rare cases, patients may have an allergic reaction to the dye. A few types of metal implants, such as pacemakers, may preclude some patients from MRI testing. A mild sedative can be administered to some patients with claustrophobia.
Mansfield Hospital screens patients for these and other contraindications before testing. Its new machine has a wide opening that accommodates larger patients and is more comfortable for all patients.
“Our scanner is generally well tolerated,” Dickerson said.