Examination by experts

The heart is one of the most critical organs in the body. It pumps blood through our circulatory system around the clock and supplies the entire body with oxygen. With an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) of the heart, our radiologists can assess the heart muscle, the blood flow in the vessels and the heart's pumping power on site. A heart MRI scan can, for example, detect circulatory disorders early and treat them precisely. As a patient, you benefit from an examination at ARISTRA by an international team of experts.
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When does a heart MRI make sense?

MRT Herz bei ARISTRA Illustration
In the case of the following symptoms, a cardio-MRI (cardiac magnetic resonance imaging) can be helpful, as the scan creates an exact representation of the heart, and the physician can detect pathological changes:
  • For acute symptoms (shortness of breath, chest pain)
  • Congenital heart defects
  • After heart or aorta surgery (such as a bypass operation)
  • Cardiac arrhythmia
  • Heart problems in the family
  • Systemic diseases leading to heart problems (hypertension, diabetes, obesity and hypometabolic diseases)

Advantages of a cardiac MRI

A cardio-MRI is a gentle examination of the heart. Unlike a cardiac CT or an X-ray examination, an MRI does not use harmful radiation.
A cardiac MRI is also a comfortable and safe examination method compared to a risky cardiac catheter examination, in which a catheter is advanced to the heart via the arm vein.

Cardio-MRI at ARISTRA - reliably detecting diseases

In most cases, the purpose of a cardiac MRI is to clarify symptoms. The minor part of the examinations is for preventive purposes. Various changes can occur around the heart - most of them insidiously. That is why it is crucial to clarify your symptoms early to determine whether heart disease is the cause. Our specialists at ARISTRA can detect the following changes in the MRI images:
  • Heart failure
  • Changes in the coronary arteries (coronary heart disease)
  • Heart attack (scar tissue)
  • Inflammation of the heart muscle (hypertrophic cardiomyopathies)
  • Inflammation of the pericardium
  • Blood clots in the heart
  • Heart valve defects
  • Congenital heart defects or heart disease
  • Heart tumours

The procedure of a heart MRI

Marcel Sokolowski
Marcel Sokolowski

Certified radiology specialist
Cardiac imaging expert
Marcel Sokolowski is a specialist in radiology and an expert in cardiovascular imaging, especially magnetic resonance imaging of the heart. He worked for many years at the Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology at Cologne University Hospital.
Marcel Sokolowski is a specialist in radiology and an expert in cardiovascular imaging, especially magnetic resonance imaging of the heart.
Suresh Ghoerbien
Suresh Ghoerbien

Expert for Cardio MRI
Suresh Ghoerbien is an application specialist for MRI with a focus on cardio-MRI. He has over 25 years of professional experience in Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands. His main activities for ARISTRA are the protocol maintenance of our client/partner sites and the implementation of examination processes such as cardio-MRI.
Suresh Ghoerbien is an application specialist with a focus on cardio-MRI. His activities include protocol maintenance and the introduction of examination processes.
In most cases, you will be referred to the radiology department by your family doctor or a specialist in cardiology for a heart examination. You can conveniently request your appointment with us using our form. As a rule, arrangements for MRI examinations are available at short notice.
Please do not consume any drinks containing caffeine (coffee, cola, tea, energy drinks, or similar) 12 hours before the examination.
Before an MRI, all metallic objects, mobile phones, credit cards and jewellery must be removed. You can clarify any open questions in advance with one of our radiologists. If you wear a pacemaker, please inform the doctor in advance - in most cases, an MRI is still possible, but certain precautions must be taken.

A cardiac MRI takes place head first and lasts about 30 minutes. Occasionally, our lab technicians will need to place a coil over your chest - but this will not be a tight fit. You can relax and breathe during the examination. For anxious patients, we always have a sedative ready at ARISTRA. Although our MRI machines have a large opening of 70 centimetres, some patients are nervous.

To protect your ears, our technicians will give you ear protection. The protection will help you with the loud knocking noises during an examination. You can interrupt the magnetic resonance imaging by pressing the emergency button. Please note that the scan needs to be finished to take usable images.

Good to know: In most cases, an ECG is performed in parallel with the MRI. The ECG helps take the images at the precise moment to make the MRI scan more accurate.

MRI contrast agents in cardiac imaging

Patients are given a contrast medium for the examination, depending on the problem. Via the veins, the agent is injected. The MRI image under contrast medium helps our radiologists to make a precise diagnosis. The contrast medium is very well tolerated and is usually excreted through the kidneys without any problems. After the examination, you will stay in the office for a short time. In case you show any intolerance, we can react quickly.

Dobutamine and adenosine stress MRI: an examination of the heart muscle

Some complaints only occur when the heart is stressed and has to pump quickly. This stress happens, for example, during strong excitement or sporting exertion. However, since patients have to lie as still as possible during an MRI, we induce stress in the radiology department with a drug. The effect lasts only a short time, and - similar to contrast media - the body quickly breaks down the drug.

During a stress MRI, the radiologist can examine, in particular, the blood flow to the heart muscle. Since the heart is supposed to beat faster during stress, the muscle must work harder and is therefore supplied with more blood. The muscle is poorly supplied with blood if there is a suspected constriction of the coronary vessels. Our radiologists can see this process in the images and thus contribute to your further treatment.

Caution: Adenosine or dobutamine administration may cause pressure or tightness in the chest, palpitations, increased breathing and sweating. These side effects are expected and indicate that the drug is causing a short-term stress response in the body.

A stress MRI cannot be performed on
  • very high or very low blood pressure
  • severe asthma
  • a recent heart attack
  • severe aortic valve stenosis

Discussion of findings with the radiologist

At ARISTRA, our patients are informed about the results directly after the examination. In a personal consultation, the radiologist explains the findings and forwards them to the referring doctor. Your family doctor or cardiologist will discuss your further therapeutic steps with you.

In complex cases, the local radiologist will contact the ARISTRA network and discuss the images with experts in the field. For cardio-MRI, this is Marcel Sokolowski.

MRI Heart » At a glance

The ARISTRA specialists look forward to welcoming you on-site. A pleasant atmosphere, short waiting times and personal medical care during the examination await you in the modern practice rooms.
Duration and price
approx. 30 minutes
Upon request*
Quick appointment
* Prices depend on the individual case. Furthermore, we must consider your insurance status and whether you are a national or international customer. In most locations in Germany, we can only work with patients who have private insurance or are self-paying.

What does the radiologist see on the MRI images?

MRI images of the heart help to detect various diseases as early as possible. Thanks to stress MRI, the diagnostic possibilities are expanded even further and thus provide comprehensive insight into the heart. The following structures become visible during the MRI examination:
  • left and right ventricle
  • Heart valves
  • Coronary vessels
  • pericardium
  • part of the aorta

MRI Heart Images

Book your appointment with ARISTRA

Make an MRI appointment

We can usually offer you an appointment for an MRI examination at short notice. You can request your preferred appointment via this form.
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To cancel an appointment, please use our appointment cancellation form.