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Pediatric and Congenital Cardiac MRI | Brenner Children’s Hospital

Cardiac MRI (cMRI/CMR) is a non-invasive imaging test utilizing specialized technologies to create both still and moving pictures of the heart. At Brenner Children’s Hospital, our cardiac MRI program is supervised by and tests are interpreted by a dedicated pediatric cardiologist with specialized training in performing these studies in infants, children, and adults with congenital heart disease.

Brenner Children’s Hospital is one of the few hospitals in the state that offers this highly specialized diagnostic service to pediatric and adult patients. The team also consists of MRI technologists who have specialized training in cardiac MRI and will guide you or your child through the potentially unfamiliar process with empathy and compassion. 

How a Pediatric Cardiac MRI is Used

In pediatric and congenital cardiology, cardiac MRI is used as a complementary imaging modality to echocardiography (cardiac ultrasound). In some patients, cardiac MRI is utilized because it is difficult to obtain the clarity of images needed for definitive diagnoses with echocardiography alone.

Cardiac MRI testing has the ability to give reproducible quantitative data about: 

• the size of the heart chambers 
• heart function 
• blood flow 

In many cases, a contrast agent is used to create 3-D pictures of the blood vessels connected to the heart to help guide medical and/or surgical decision making. The contrast can also help identify areas of scaring in the heart if it has been injured by certain disorders or prior surgeries. 

Cardiac MRI is unique in that it does not use radiation and thus has no potential to increase the risk of cancer. This is especially important in infants and children, women, and patients that have already had to receive substantial amounts of radiation in the past because of necessary procedures or tests like cardiac catheterizations’, x-rays and /or CT scans.