What are the advantages of MRI for imaging the heart?
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) does not use ionizing radiation, and therefore may be a more appropriate modality for radiation-sensitive populations such as children and pregnant women. The contrast material used for MRI, which contains gadolinium rather than iodine used for computed tomography (CT), is associated with fewer allergic reactions and a lower incidence of contrast-induced nephropathy. MRI can also be used for functional evaluation, with a temporal resolution that is superior to CT, although not as good as that of echocardiography. Unlike echocardiography, MRI provides more operator-independent image quality, without interference from bone and air, and allows superior visualization of the right ventricle as well as measurement of blood flow. MRI has much higher soft tissue contrast compared to other imaging modalities, allowing for visualization of edema and scar tissue.