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What Are the Risks of Cardiac MRI?

The magnetic fields and radio waves used in cardiac MRI have no side effects. This method of taking pictures of organs and tissues doesn't carry a risk of causing cancer or birth defects.

Serious reactions to the contrast agent used during some MRI tests are very rare. However, side effects are possible and include the following:

  • Headache
  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach)
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in taste
  • Allergic reactions

Rarely, the contrast agent can harm people who have severe kidney or liver disease. The substance may cause a disease called nephrogenic (NEF-ro-JEN-ik) systemic fibrosis.

If your cardiac MRI includes a stress test, more medicines will be used during the test. These medicines may have other side effects that aren't expected during a regular MRI scan, such as:

  • Arrhythmias (ah-RITH-me-ahs), or irregular heartbeats
  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Palpitations (feelings that your heart is skipping a beat, fluttering, or beating too hard or fast)
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Cardiac MRI Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are research studies that explore whether a medical strategy, treatment, or device is safe and effective for humans. To find clinical trials that are currently underway for Cardiac MRI, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov.


Cardiac MRI in the News

April 26, 2013
NIH and Children's National Medical Center open new cardiac intervention suite
A new state-of-the-art facility dedicated to pediatric cardiac imaging and intervention, co-established by the National Institutes of Health and Children’s National Medical Center, was opened with a special dedication ceremony today. The new facility, located at Children’s National in Washington, D.C., is the culmination of a long collaboration combining the cardiac imaging expertise at the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) with the renowned clinical care at Children’s National.

View all Cardiac MRI Press Releases

 
February 02, 2012 Last Updated Icon

The NHLBI updates Health Topics articles on a biennial cycle based on a thorough review of research findings and new literature. The articles also are updated as needed if important new research is published. The date on each Health Topics article reflects when the content was originally posted or last revised.

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