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What is a cardiac stress magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test?

A cardiac stress magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a test that creates detailed images of your heart and blood vessels. During the test, a medication is injected that increases blood flow to your heart -- this mimics the effect of stress or exercise on your heart. A cardiac stress MRI can show whether your heart is getting enough blood, and whether there are areas of heart muscle damage from previous heart attacks.

MRI uses radio waves and strong magnets to create images of your body tissues. Many images are created during an MRI test, each focused on a different plane, or "slice," of your heart. A computer combines them to create detailed pictures or movies of your heart.

Cardiac stress MRI tests are safe and effective. An MRI test does not use x-rays, so it doesn't expose you to radiation. Yet an MRI test can provide more information than a traditional x-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan.

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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.