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cardiac MRI - anyone had one?

(46 Posts)
lirael Thu 27-Jun-13 13:31:32

My appointment has come through today for an MRI tomorrow morning - eek! Am anxious about the investigations they're doing on my heart anyway, but also a bit worried about the procedure. I think the hospital have two machines in different widths and am really hoping they've got me in the bigger one as am claustrophobic. GP has written me a prescription for a sedative which I'm just about to go and pick up, but not sure if I'll need it - it depends how narrow the tunnel is! Apparently I'll be in there for an hour. Not really looking forward to it...

CambridgeBlue Thu 27-Jun-13 13:33:52

My DH had one after he had a heart attack a few years back. He is also claustrophobic so was allowed to 'go in' feet first instead of head first (I think, not entirely sure how these machines work but I know it was something he was more comfortable with). Could you ask about doing it this way?

Good luck smile

lirael Thu 27-Jun-13 13:40:43

I'm sure I could - thanks. Am quite tall so I think my feet will be sticking out anyway. Just wish it was my head!

flossieflower Thu 27-Jun-13 13:40:50

I had one a couple of years ago. I had to change into a gown and take off all my jewellery then lie in the actual scanner. It was in two halves but was basically a voice saying, "breathe in, breathe out, stop breathing, breathe normally" over and over again. Took about an hour. I also had an ultrasound scan the same day which was just like a pregnancy ultrasound but of my heart and my neck (they look at the blood flow) and a 72 hour ECG where you have wires attached to your chest for 72 hours.

For the second half of the MRI they injected some contrast dye into my hand which REALLY hurt then did the same thing all over again. It was my right hand and I had to drive home afterwards with it still really hurting so I would recommend not driving afterwards if they are going to use contrast dye!!

Good luck. I had to do lots of controlled breathing to keep myself calm as I found it very claustrophobic and unplesant. But worth it to know that everything was ok.

lirael Thu 27-Jun-13 19:14:28

GP has given me diazepam- 6 x 2 mg tablets. Instructions say take 5 mgs before going to bed, 5 in morning and 5 two hours before procedure. Well obviously I don't have enough for that (though would have if I just took one dose in morning - my MRI is at 9am, so would be covered if I took it at 7).

Question is, having never taken diazepam before - would 1 x 2mg be enough? Or shall I take 4 mgs? Or cut them in half and take 5mg? Am tall and heavy-ish if that makes a difference.

Matildathecat Thu 27-Jun-13 19:39:14

Hey, why don't you take 1 tablet and see how you feel, may be enough to calm you, you don't want to be too drowsy.

Can't comment on cardiac aspect but have had many MRI scans for various parts and they all felt the same.

Firstly they really try to make you comfortable on the bed. I have always gone in headfirst. You hold a buzzer so you can call the staff at any time. Headphones mean they can talk to you and you can speak to's very much comments like, well done, next part of scan will be 7 minutes etc. be warned, it's VERY noisy. I'm used to it but could be a little disconcerting. You do notice a slight warming of the scanned area and a slight magnetic pull.

The tunnel is erm...cosy and I'm quite small. Best to close your eyes and the noise is actually quite hypnotic. I drifted off last time. I've had dye twice and it didn't hurt me, so that is probably down to the skill of the person doing the cannulation.

It's kind of something you just have to get through. Fun, no, not much but really not so bad. Practice your slow deep breathing and you'll be fine.

Good luck.

Matildathecat Thu 27-Jun-13 19:41:29

Ps re diazepam taking it at 7ish sounds fine. Sounds like your GP didn't think the dose through, the tabs are prob too small to break. Could be stressful in itself! Take 2 if in doubt.

Themobstersknife Thu 27-Jun-13 19:48:29

I have had about 10 scans, and am still always surprised by how 'cosy' it is. I am only saying this as my late mum had to have a scan once, and I totally played it down in terms of the tunnel, and she was very upset that it was so much smaller than she expected. I hope they either let you go in feet first - I didn't even realise you could do this - or you go in the bigger scanner. The technicians who have done my scans have always been really kind, reassuring and helpful, and I am not claustraphobic, so if you tell them your fears, I am sure you will be well looked after. Good luck.
Hope your investigations conclude soon and that everything is ok.

lirael Thu 27-Jun-13 21:09:27

Is your head quite near the end? I think if it is I'll be OK - my GP said if you tilt your head back you can see the room.

digerd Thu 27-Jun-13 21:39:29

Just seen this thread and want to wish you good luck for tomorrow. Crossing my fingers you will have the new wider MRI scan.

lirael Thu 27-Jun-13 21:44:27

Thanks Digerd - crossing mine too.

lirael Fri 28-Jun-13 13:23:05

Am back and managed to cope OK. Didn't exactly enjoy myself, but didn't really panic either - was in for about an hour and it did seem quicker. I wasn't allowed to listen to music because I had to follow breathing instructions - hundreds of them - which made it quite tedious. My head was fairly near the opening, so if I tilted my head back I could see out of the machine - that really helped. And it was air conditioned, so I just tried to imagine I was in the open, with sky above me. Took 2mg of diazepam at 7am and then another one just before I went in as the first one didn't seem to have done much. I think they helped a bit, but not sure. Certainly my heart wasn't jumping around the way it normally does in tests! For the second part of the scan I had the dye injection in my arm, which was fine - just felt a bit cold.

Now have to wait for results - some doctors came in to look at the scan while it was being done and I'm hoping that if they'd seen anything really terrible they would have kept me behind afterwards - but not sure.

digerd Fri 28-Jun-13 16:21:18

Hi Arael.
Well done.! Was it the new wider MRI? An hour seems to me a long time and don't think I could have done it .
Good they used the contrast dye as I think that shows the blood vessels too. If there is anything wrong, it will be found and treated.
Valium does reduce the pulse rate - I used to take 10 mg just at night time to get a good night's sleep.

I too think if they found anything really serious and in urgent need of treatment, they would have kept you in.
Hope you get the results soon and will get encouraging answers at last.

lirael Fri 28-Jun-13 23:12:28

Hi Digerd. I think it was the wider one, yes - the 'ceiling' seemed quite close, but it widened out just behind my head, which was fairly close to the end of the tunnel. The first 20 mins or so seemed long but after that the time went quickly and it didn't seem like an hour.

lirael Wed 03-Jul-13 08:43:30

Waiting nervously for results now - the pattern so far has been to send a letter to my GP and a copy to me, which I always get days before the GP, resulting in a tendency to Google and scare myself silly.

Mind you, I did a parents race at Sports Day yesterday - only a short sprint but came third, behind my friend who's 15 years younger than me and a Dad. Didn't feel abnormally breathless afterwards - maybe those beta blockers are doing some good!

digerd Wed 03-Jul-13 16:58:51

Hi Arael
Been thinking of you and results of your MRI scan. Wow, you beat your male 15 year-old younger friend in a race ! You are Superwoman grin.

I don't think there can be anything badly wrong with your heart. Did you not have your Ectopics either?

You were very brave to do the race. I have never taken Beta Blockers so can't say. Also never been any good at running even at school - I always came last. !
Hope you get the results soon. I suppose you didn't think to ask them last Friday when you would get the results?

lirael Wed 03-Jul-13 21:30:48

hi Digerd. Yes, they said, rather vaguely - ' a week or two'.

lirael Fri 05-Jul-13 15:40:25

Update for anyone who's interested! MRI results showed a 'mild impairment' of heart function and so, because my stress test was 'borderline' and the high number of PVCs (24% of total heart beats in 24 hours) they've decided to do an angiogram, which is scheduled for the 15th of this month. Cardiology nurse implied it was precautionary rather than anything else.

Am relieved they haven't found anything awful. Can cope with 'mild' !
Am surprised that the MRI didn't give enough info about the arteries though - I thought that was the point of it?

digerd Fri 05-Jul-13 16:45:39

Hi Areal
Thought you might have had the results today as it is a week since you had the MRI. Good it is a 'mild impairment', and the angiogram will reveal anything the MRI could not.
The dye injection would have shown up the arteries to some extent.

What are PVCs?

lirael Fri 05-Jul-13 16:51:28

Premature Ventricular Contractions - ectopic beats.

digerd Fri 05-Jul-13 17:19:28

I found one website on which somebody has had them since a child and said beta blockers really help. So you are on the right meds. It appears to be quite rare.
How are you feeling in yourself after that race you did at sports daysmile

lirael Fri 05-Jul-13 17:33:45

Fine! Doing that and not feeling any effects really reassured me.

My main problem with all these appointments is logistics. I've got a ten year old autistic son who's home educated at the moment. The hospital is an hour away. Finding childcare for him is really difficult - and I don't think it's any coincidence that he has been much more agitated and difficult than usual since all this began a month ago. The angiogram will basically take all day - have to be there at 8 but may not be 'done' until 12.30. Then have to wait 6 hours. So I think DH will have to drop me off, then look after DS2 and come and pick me up when I'm ready. Better take a good book!

NK346f2849X127d8bca260 Fri 05-Jul-13 19:19:11

Seems like you are getting good treatment.

I was told at my son's last cardiac appointment ( kawasaki disease at 2) that he will need an angiogram when he is 18 because the echo/MRI scans
do not give such detailed info as the angiogram will.

lirael Fri 05-Jul-13 22:58:16

Oh that's interesting. I'd assumed the MRI was the most detailed.

NK346f2849X127d8bca260 Fri 05-Jul-13 23:18:31

Yes, i was surprised by that as well.

Can you let us no how you get on with the angiogram it. My ds is only 12 and worrying about it already!

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