Magnetic Resonance Imaging Of The Chest
What you should know
Magnetic Resonance Imaging Of The Chest (Precare) Care Guide
- A magnetic resonance imaging scan is also called an MRI. An MRI uses magnetic fields and radio waves to take pictures of the inside of your body. A chest MRI is done to see your blood vessels (veins and arteries), breasts, and bones of the chest. It will also show pictures of your lungs and heart. Pictures taken during the MRI can show heart or lung disease or a lump in your chest or breast tissue. An MRI of the chest may show a fracture (break) in your sternum (breastbone) or in one or more of your ribs. Your ribs are the bones that go from the sternum around your chest and to your spine. If you are at high risk of getting a certain disease, an MRI can be used to look for signs of the disease.
- You may need an MRI if you have symptoms, such as chest pain or shortness of breath. The MRI may show caregivers what is causing your signs or symptoms. This test may be done after an x-ray or another test to give caregivers more information about a medical problem. An MRI can be used before a procedure to help caregivers plan it or during a procedure to guide them. If you are being treated for a medical condition, an MRI can show caregivers how well your treatment is working. This will help you and your caregiver decide on the best treatment for you.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
- If dye is used during your MRI, it may damage your kidneys. This risk is higher if you have diabetes or kidney disease. If you have metal in or on your body during the MRI, the metal may heat to a dangerous level and cause a burn. If you had surgery to have a coil, stent, or filter placed in your body recently, it may move out of place during the MRI. An MRI can make medical devices work wrong or stop working. You may have short-term hearing loss after an MRI.
- If you do not have an MRI, a medical problem may not be found. If a medical problem is not found and treated, it may get worse. Without an MRI, your caregiver may not find a disease in the early stages when it may be treated more easily. If you have symptoms, such as shortness of breath or pain, your symptoms may get worse. If you have a lump, it may grow bigger. Having an MRI before or during surgery helps caregivers plan for and complete the surgery. Without an MRI, you may not know if a treatment that you are getting is working. Your condition may get worse, and you may die. Talk to your caregiver if you are worried or have questions about having an MRI of the chest.
Before the test:
- Tell your caregiver if you know or think you might be pregnant.
- Ask caregivers for directions about eating and drinking. You may need to avoid eating or drinking anything for four hours before your MRI.
The day of the test:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
- You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- If you are afraid of small spaces, being inside the MRI machine may make you worried or scared. Your caregiver may offer you medicine to help you relax and lie still. You may also be able to listen to music to help you relax. A friend or family member may be able to stay with you during the MRI.
What will happen:
- You will be asked to remove jewelry and any removable metal objects. You will lie down on a table with your arms at your sides. Your caregiver may put padding and cushions around and under you. You may be given earplugs or headphones to decrease the noise of the MRI machine. The table will slide into the round tube in the center of the machine.
- You will hear loud banging or tapping noises as the machine takes pictures. The noise is caused by the magnets in the machine moving during the test. You may be asked to take a deep breath and hold it for a period of time or to breathe deeply during the test. Procedures, such as collecting a biopsy (sample) of a lump, may be done during the MRI. Ask your caregiver for more information if you need to have another procedure done during your MRI.
After the test:
Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. If medicine patches or medical devices were removed before the MRI, they will be put back on. If you have a medical device, caregivers will check it to make sure it is working as it should. Your IV may be removed. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you may be able to go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you will be taken to your room.
This is an area where your family and friends can wait until you are able to have visitors. Ask your visitors to provide a way to reach them if they leave the waiting area.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your MRI.
- You think you may be pregnant.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.