Cardiac MRI > Introduction > MRI and the Heart

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and the Heart

MRI is a noninvasive imaging technique that came into clinical use in the early 1980s. It is based on the principles of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) that were developed in the 1930s. Significant advances were necessary to go from the basic principles of NMR to generating images of the human body. Techniques were developed to localize the small amount of radio frequency (RF) energy generated from spinning hydrogen protons when a patient is placed in a strong magnetic field.  Image production today relies upon magnetic fields created by superconducting magnets and sophisticated electronics which manipulate and process the RF energy. 

MRI has revolutionized medical imaging for many organ systems. However, due to the motion of the heart, the development of cardiac MRI has been slow as compared to MRI for other organs due to the requirement for faster acquisition techniques.  With advancements in technology, these obstacles have been overcome and cardiac MRI has become a validated tool for imaging the heart.


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