How should I prepare for cardiac stress magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)?

Follow these steps to prepare for a cardiac stress magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test:

Tell your doctor about anything implanted in your body and about any surgeries or procedures you've had. This will help your doctor decide whether an MRI is right for you. An MRI test uses a powerful magnet, so surgical implants can interfere with the test or cause serious injury. Implants that can cause problems include, but are not limited to:
  • inner ear implants
  • pacemakers or implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs)
  • some types of brain aneurysm clips
  • nerve stimulators
With rare exceptions, people with implanted devices such as these should not have an MRI. Your doctor will tell you if an MRI test can be used in your case.

Tell your doctor about medications you are taking, including over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements. Also tell your doctor if you are allergic to any medication.

Tell your doctor about any symptoms you have during exercise, such as heart rhythm problems, nausea, chest pain, or breathing problems.

Tell your doctor if you feel anxious in enclosed places. Depending on the type of MRI machine used for the test, your doctor may prescribe or give you a sedative beforehand to relax you.

Follow your doctor's directions about whether to stop medications, food, or drink before the test. You may also be asked to:
  • Avoid caffeine for 24 hours before the test. (Caffeine is found in coffee, tea, chocolate, many sodas, and energy drinks.)
  • Avoid smoking on the day of the test.
  • Stop certain medications for heart disease, diabetes, or asthma. Do not discontinue any medication without first talking with your doctor.
  • Consider leaving jewelry, watches, hairpins, and similar items at home. No metal items are allowed in the MRI room. For convenience, you may want to leave non-necessary metal items at home. (If you wear objects such as eyeglasses, they can be left in another room during the test.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.