This illustration shows three different hearts and conceptually walks through how a MRI can be used to assess heart disease. Today these kinds of images must be read by a skilled cardiologist. The process determines the ejection fraction (EF), which is calculated from measured blood volumes at systole (as the heart contracts) and diastole (as the heart refills).
The first row shows a heart with an abnormally low ejection fraction (EF). You can see how little the heart moves, indicating that it is unable to do its job properly.
The middle row shows a normal, healthy heart.
The bottom row shows an abnormally high ejection fraction. Note the thick muscle walls in the bottom heart.
The min and max rows, the corresponding low and high EF’s, are indications of heart disease. The MRI gives us a way to “see” heart disease, in seven seconds.
—Written by Shannon Lantzy