Cardiovascular Medicine

EmailEmail    |   Bookmark Page Bookmark  |   RSS Feeds RSS  |   Print Page Print  

MCW Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging Group

Cardiac MRI Services Offered

Core Exam - Cardiac Morphology and Function

This study uses a variety of MRI techniques to evaluate cardiac chamber sizes, function, & exclude significant valve disease. Can provide most of the same information as a complete echo; particularly advantageous over echo when poor ultrasound images are anticipated (obese, severe COPD), differentiating masses or diseases that infiltrate heart  muscle (tissue characterization), or when serial studies with a high degree of accuracy & reproducibility are needed (chemotherapy).

Tissue Characterization

Ability to characterize abnormal myocardial tissue or masses. Preferred over echo when interested in cardiac effects of systemic disease such as sarcoidosis, amyloidosis, systemic sclerosis. May assist in diagnosis of myocarditis, Fabry disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, & ARVD.


Very sensitive test to detect evidence of previous infarct, or myocardial damage as result of some systemic diseases. May request viability study by itself, or will automatically be included with all stress test requests.

Cardiac MRI Adenosine Stress Test

Identifies obstructive CAD with sensitivity and specificity as good or better than echo or nuclear imaging. Viability study automatically included with all requests. Patient does not need to be NPO, but should have no caffeine for 24 hours prior to test.   More patient-specific information can be found HERE.

Cardiac MRA

Angiography of the thoracic aorta for size and coronary anatomy (but not CAD), especially when associated with abnormal aortic valve.  Useful for diagnosis and surveillance of thoracic aortic aneurysm in a way that avoids ionizing radiation.

Monitored Pacemaker/ICD MRI scans of any body part

The Medical College of Wisconsin also offers specialized protocols for performing MRI scans on patients with both MRI-compatible as well as the older, non-MRI compatible ICDs and pacemakers.  Call 414-777-1690 to order or schedule an MRI scan.  This may be done under the MagnaSafe trial: Determining the Risks of Magnetic Resonance Imaging in the Presence of Pacemakers and Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators; NCT00907361

Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy 

Cardiac MRI is very useful in the diagnosis and evaluation of suspected hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.  Can often give a better view of overall wall thickness (especially apically) than is possible by other imaging modalities.  Will also give amount of fibrosis (by delayed enhancement) which is an important piece of prognostic information in HCM.

Infiltrative Cardiomyopathy

Cardiac MRI can be helpful to determine etiology of cardiomyopathy.  Can often distinguish between ischemic, hemochromatosis, amyloid, sarcoid.

Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia (ARVD/C)  

Cardiac MRI is critical in establishing the diagnosis of ARVD.  MCW physicians have been able to optimize the false positive/negative rate due to high volume experience.

Cardiac Masses

Cardiac MRI is critical in establishing the etiology of cardiac masses, and is the gold standard for evaluation of intracardiac thrombus.

The MCW Cardiac MRI Imaging Group offers unique quality and expertise in the domain of cardiac MRI imaging.  This is a collaborative group consisting of both cardiologists and radiologists, which hold weekly joint imaging conferences to assure the highest standard of image interpretation.


 (no photo)

Richard H. Christenson, MD

Radiology, Co-Director

Jason C. Rubenstein, MD, FACC

Cardiology, Co-Director

Kaushik S. Shahir, MD


Aimee C. Welsh, MD



Patient information is available at
Please call 414-805-3700 to refer a patient for a cardiac MRI.
© 2014 Medical College of Wisconsin
Page Updated 01/30/2014