Cardiac MRI Shows Reason for Heart Arrhythmia

Cardiac MRI effective in identifying heart arrhythmia explanation

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(RxWiki News) The key to getting a cardiac diagnosis may be an imaging test called Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR). The imaging scan appears to identify a diagnosis 75 percent of the time, and may even provide the reason behind unexplained heart arrhythmias.

During a recent study researchers were able to identify a new or alternate explanation for abnormal heartbeat in half of the patients who were scanned.

"Talk to your cardiologist about managing heart arrhythmias."

Dr. James White, a cardiologist at Western University's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry in Canada, and his colleagues found that the tool was highly effective in diagnosing patients resuscitated after sudden cardiac death or who arrived at the hospital as a result of an arrhythmia.

As part of the study, investigators used the CMR on 82 consecutive patients who arrived at the hospital after being resuscitated following sudden cardiac death, or who had Ventricular Tachycardia, a type of abnormal heart rhythm.

In addition to standard cardiac imaging tests, the patients received a CMR scan. Investigators hoped to determine whether the single CMR test could lead to a diagnosis.

"What we found was interesting," said Dr. White. "In three-quarters of the patients who had an MRI performed, we were able to identify a plausible reason why that heart rhythm occurred."

In comparison, the cause was found among half of the patients when only conventional tests were used. The test also provided a new or alternate explanation for an arrhythmia in 50 percent of cases. Most stemmed from inflammation of the heart muscle or small undetected heart attacks.

The findings were recently published in Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging, a Journal of the American Heart Association.

Last Updated:
February 17, 2012