Mri stress perfusion scan : Anybody had... - British Heart Fou...

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Mri stress perfusion scan

Dpc2019 profile image

Anybody had a mri stress perfusion scan? And what was there experience?

46 Replies

I’ve had one, first of all the test is the gold standard in terms of the valuable information your cardio team will gain in treating you. My test took about an hour all in all, no probs whatsoever. Just try to lie back and relax and concentrate on your breathing as per the instructions by the MRI technician

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to Boo_boo1

Wow ok so stress part of the test your heart doesn't go very fast does it? That's the bit I'm really worried about..

Boo_boo1 profile image
Boo_boo1 in reply to Dpc2019

Yea it does but nothing to worry about 🙂

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to Boo_boo1

Na see that's my fear fast heart rate is enough for me to pull out of test.. How long does it last? When you say fast how fast? And thanks for replys

Boo_boo1 profile image
Boo_boo1 in reply to Dpc2019

Not long….couple of mins if I remember.

I had one on May 24. Certainly nothing to get concerned about. The operatives will be talking to you via headphones and giving occasional ‘hold your breath’ on countdown instructions. They’ll no doubt fit a cannula for each arm prior to the MRI for injection of the contrast and stress drug. The heart stress part of the MRI doesn’t last for very long, and the whole procedure is for examining your blood flow. It’s all for the good and I found it interesting and I honestly would welcome another one to see where my EF is at nowadays. You’ll be fine, but you’ll have to chase up your consultant for the results. I only got mine a couple of weeks ago following several ‘phone calls. Worth checking YouTube / Google as it’s very well explained. All the best and don’t worry.

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to Entabeni

Thanks for reply, what I'm worried about most is my heart going super fast during stress part of the test.. And how long does stress part last?

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star


I have had 3 over 9 years.

It's very noisy but they give you head phones to wear.

I just closed my eyes as I went into the machine. I kept them closed through out. Just like Boo_boo1 I concentrated on my breathing.

They talk you through everything.

It's a very strange feeling of pressure on your chest when they inject the adenosine but it doesn't last for very long.

You also have a button to press so you can tell the staff if you are not feeling well.

Good luck.

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to Milkfairy

Just really worried about my heart going super fast during the test on the stress part.. How long does the stress part last?

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Dpc2019

It is very short less than a minute.They tell you when they are going to inject the adenosine.

They are monitoring your heart throughout the MRI scan.

They will stop at any point you press the button or if they pick up a problem on your ECG.

During the test there is a Cardiologist, and several other members of staff carrying out the test.

You will be in safe hands.

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to Milkfairy

Thanks milk fairy your messages and others really put my mind at ease. Honestly..

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Dpc2019

Just close your eyes and keep breathing 😊

Come back and tell us how you get on.

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to Milkfairy

Of course i will 😊

DAVEEJG profile image
DAVEEJG in reply to Dpc2019

I had my test about 4 weeks ago. As others have said everything is well controlled and in total takes about an hour. During the stress part which lasted about 2 mins, one of the operatives came out to stand with me to get ‘face to face’ contact on what I was feeling. Very reassuring. Do not worry, it is a very important test of your heart condition, but obviously necessary for your future treatment regime.

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to DAVEEJG

Thank you dave just terrified of heart racing part, heard it takes 6 mins of heart racing. Unless someone just trying to scare me, and coukd you really feel it?

FourStrings profile image
FourStrings in reply to Dpc2019

I didn’t really feel my heart racing at all, i think they told me it went up to about 85 for a couple minutes. The tightness across my chest and throat was much more noticeable and weird … very similar to the feeling i had with my little heart attack. But only lasted 2-3 minutes. The test was all pretty easy, calming even. I felt pretty sleepy in the scanner, kept my eyes shut, followed the instructions. Really nothing to worry about. Honestly.

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to FourStrings

Oh ok you guys have really put my mind at ease although now I'm worrying about chest tightness and throat tightness. Was that really bad? In the end I think it's just my anxiety... 😕

FourStrings profile image
FourStrings in reply to Dpc2019

I thought I might’ve done that with my comment. Honestly if you know it’s coming it’s fine, disconcerting at worst… feels a bit like going over a big hump back bridge or a rollercoaster … the hormone they inject is a bit like adrenaline, so it gives this odd ‘rush’. You’ll go ‘ooh that’s a bit weird’ then before you know it it’s gone … it fades really fast, just a minute or so. Don’t be worried, concentrate on the strange whirring and clunking noises going on all around you, lie still, and relax…

…and, stay in control. If you don’t like something then say. The nurses were so helpful and careful. I didn’t like where they put the little recorder box on my chest, it was uncomfortable… i asked them to move it before we started so they spent a while making it comfy. When i was ready, they were ready.. You know what, I actually found the whole thing quite calm and interesting and enjoyable.

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to FourStrings

Yeah i just got to go through with it it's for, you've really put my mind at ease fourstrings I feel like I can do it so many lovely people on here. 😊

Hi I had mine all went well takes about an hour and like others have said you’re well looked after by the team. The stress part lasts about 3/4 minutes where it’s pumped into you but I’d say within 30sec/min it’s out of you. I’m sure you’ll be fine 😊

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to Calla66

So as soon as they stopped doing it your heart just returned to normal in a min? And how fast was heart going? I'm terrified of this test 😭

I had one a few months ago and was also really worried about the “stress” part. For 1-2 minutes it was a bit like running in the sense that my heart was beating fast and I was breathing heavily, but it wasn’t too extreme. In the lead-up, I kept saying to myself that it’ll be quick and it’s a very very important test. I returned to normal a few seconds after and the rest of the scan was easy because I was so relaxed/relieved. I’d be less worried if I had to do it again, now that I know.

One thing I did wrong is stupidly forget to take my face mask off, which made me feel claustrophobic wearing it the whole time (once I was in position I didn’t / couldn’t move my arms).

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to sm_1016

Wow so fast heart part doesn't last that long? And how fast did heart feel like its going? Oh you can't move arms once in mri? I'm not looking forward tk this at all.. Never had a normal Mri b4 let alone a stress 1..

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to sm_1016

Oh so litreally as soon as they stop the adenosine, your heart returns to normal quickly..?

sm_1016 profile image
sm_1016 in reply to Dpc2019

It felt a few seconds after the “stress” part to return to normal for me, probably it was gradual but it didn’t seem like long.

Sorry I didn’t mean to worry you about arms, it wasn’t that bad. I was just thinking if there was a next time I would take my facemask off before going in. I wasn’t sure how still I had to lie (as I hadn’t asked) so tried not to move more than necessary.

The actual MRI itself either side of the “stress test” I strangely found quite relaxing and the staff were talking to me the whole time which was very reassuring. You have a button to squeeze if you feel bad (I didn’t need to use it) so that was another reassurance.

Main thing is, it is an extremely important procedure and they get so much information out of it. Remember they’ll have done hundreds/thousands of these procedures and will know that some people are very nervous. You will be in safe hands!

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to sm_1016

For sure I must go forward with it,. Thank you so much for your replys

HiI had the same a few weeks ago. I think everyone has described it well. For me the test was about an hour, and the team (two mri folk and my cardiologist) explained beforehand what was going to happen and in what order.

I suggest you ask your team to explain what will happen when to you.

For me, the adenosine was introduced about 20 mins into the test. They explained that they would let me know when it was about to happen, and it would last for two minutes.

During those two minutes they kept on letting me know “ok you’ve had 30 seconds, how are you feeling”, “ok it’s 50 seconds now are you ok” etc.

I didn’t feel my heart racing at all, and for the first minute I felt absolutely no different… in the second minute I felt kind of the way I feel lets say when you walk up a steep hill when you’ve not been exercising - a little bit of tightness in the chest, but not worrying. It’s just a bit weird to feel it lying down rather than actually exerting yourself.

When they hit the 2 minute mark, they let me know and within about 10 or 20 seconds I felt completely normal again. It was also good to get the adenosine part done near the beginning so I wasnt waiting anxiously for it.

In short, you should be in the hands of experienced professionals who should guide you through each step. As difficult as it may be, try to just keep calm and ask any questions you have. You can communicate with the team throughout, even though the machine is a bit noisy! (Clunk clunk clunk whirrrrr!)

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to PV74

Thank you so much im just worried my hearts gona be beating out my chest super fast...

PV74 profile image
PV74 in reply to Dpc2019

That was not my experience so hopefully you won’t feel that either!

Best of luck and sure it will go smoothly!

I had stress mri test about 6 months ago and have recently had similar pet scan. Stress part is fine and only lasts a couple of minutes. No problems with claustrophobia in the mri scanner, just close your eyes and concentrate on following the instructions on when to breath.Recommend you take your mask off, especially if, like me, you have shortness of breath without activity.

Remember the test is important, will be finished before you know it and you will get through.

As I am fed up with having needles put in me I always think the worst part of these tests is having the cannula put in. That said the nurses in the test centre are normally much better at it than the cardiac ward nurses, and they put the right one in first time.

Good luck and I hope it leads your cardio to a firm diagnosis.

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to Gibson01

Thank you Gibson. Means alot thanks for reply.. Couple mi s I can deal with. Did you find your heart was really racey? Or bearable?

Gibson01 profile image
Gibson01 in reply to Dpc2019

It's bearable, honestly, after the test you the test you will wonder what the fuss was about.

PV74 profile image
PV74 in reply to Gibson01

Agree re the cannula! I have had so many needles in me the last six months some going in easier than others I was dreading the two cannulas …In the end the operators decided my one arm looked good and the other not so easy so they put one cannula in (a slightly larger one) with some thing called an “octopus” which allowed for the two tubes into one arm basically

Once that was over the rest of the MRI was a cinch!


The scans are very valuable to check your heart performance. I had mine last year - one stress test and 2 days later a normal one.

My only gripe was that the ‘technician’ only stopped the inward travel when I shouted out at the top of my voice as it had touched my chin.

Surely, with today’s technology, I would have thought that shouldn’t happen as there should be a cut- out mechanism to prevent that?

I dread to think what would have happened if it continued inward.

@Milkfairy what do you make of that?



Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Alpsholiday

Not sure what to make of your experience.

Everytime I have had a Cardiac MRI, (3 in all) the staff carefully pushed me on the trolley, into the scanner making sure my arms and IV lines were not caught up as they did so.

I was given a button to press to notify the staff if there were any problems.

Hi Milkfairy

The operator was standing 10 ft away propelling the bed inward using a remote device and I shouted when it touched my chin and she stopped and apologised.

Are you saying they pushed your bed forward using their hands?



I had MRI stress test in May . It lasted for an hour and 15 mins . After setting me all up with ecg blood pressure cuff and cannula on both arms as I entered the machine I felt really claustrophobic so was unhooked from everything and was sent in feet first which made me feel more relaxed . I must admit I spent time waiting for them to tell me that they were doing the stress part which I think probably made me a bit anxious . As soon as it was administered I felt light headed and breathless which was weird as lying down , I also felt like a tightness in my chest as if something was pushing down on it this did unnerve me so I asked for it to be stopped it didn’t feel like a racing heart to me I know my experience seems to have been different from the previous posts but that was the experience I had .

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to Ada-eve

Wow ok so did they get the results they needed if you asked for them to stop? And doesn't sound like a great experience I'm terrified for this test..

Ada-eve profile image
Ada-eve in reply to Dpc2019

Please don’t be terrified it certainly wasn’t a terrifying experience more a very strange one . After I told them to stop one of the people doing it came out and asked to do it again and said they would stay with me but I didn’t want too . They was fine with that . I have never received any results via paperwork on the MRI but did get a call approx 3 weeks later saying good news your heart is pumping nicely so I guess they did get what they wanted but would have been nice to read what they saw or didn’t 🙄. You will be fine, if you want to stop you can there are alternatives if it doesn’t suit you such as a C T angiogram which is a non invasive one 😊

After reading all of the information sent to me by the hospital about the cardiac stress test, my experience was as follows:

1. I was asked a series of questions before the test by the radiologist. Everything was explained. If you have any worries or anxieties this is the time to tell the health professionals and ask questions. Information may reduce any anxiety and they might have some ideas to help you.

2. It is important that you do not wear anything metalic as explained in the information that you received. Health professionals with check this with you.

4. I was taken to a room to change clothing. Underwear (pants) can be kept on. There was a locker where clothing and belongings were kept safe.

5. I was taken into the MRI scanning room. There were two radiologists and a cardiac consultant in the room who prepared me for the scan. Preparation involved ECG pads to monitor heart during procedure. Also, two canulas were inserted (one in each wrist).

6. A heavy (but not too heavy and quite manageable) material was placed over my chest area.

7. Make sure that you feel comfortable before going into the scanner. I would avoid wearing a mask if possible before going into the scanner.

8. I was taken into the scanner feet first and I felt a little claustraphobic. I told the health professionals immediately. I was advised to tilt my head backward and look into the room. It was okay to do this at anytime during the scanning. I did this on ocassions for a few minutes at a time and this really helped me.

9. The drug used for the stress test was administered via a pump by the Cardiac consultant from the other room - so they did not come inside the MRI scanning room itself to administer the drug. Scanning took place before, during and after the drug is administered.

10. If it all gets too much when you are inside the scanner, you can ask them to stop - but they cannot restart the test or scans again.

11. Remember that you are being monitored very, very closely by health professionals who have done very many of the scans. Be very patient, concentrate on relaxing, breathing and following the instructions from the radiologist. Think of something really positive and very pleasant. For example, the last wonderful holiday that you had - or whatever would help you to distract yourself from the procedure.

12. Remember that the stress part of the test will last for about a minute and then any discomfort will stop.

13. Remember that the MRI is an absolutely thorough test which will be a HUGE advantage for you because it will help the cardiologist to accurately identify your condition and come up with the best treatment for you. Although this may sound strange, try to remember that in some way you are privileged - there are many, many countries and people who are unable to have such a detailed test as they cannot afford it, or they don't have the scanners, drugs or specialist health professionals.

14. The main thing for me was once in the MRI scanner was to chill and take advantage of this time to think of wonderful things, events, or times that had occurred in my life. Relax. I also focused that after the scan/test, I can go and do something that I enjoyed. No matter how much people complain about things I think myself lucky that there are health professionals who are willing to spend their lifetime studying cardiac conditions and coming up with such incredible technology and in fantastic ways of treating conditions.

15. Oh! I also listened to "Three Little Birds" by Bob Marley on the way to my appointment.

16. Even in the most grim situations British humour can help to lift worries - when

I asked my young son if he knew CPR - he said yes, and that he also knew the whole alphabet!

I hope that this helps, take it all in your stride.

I had one of these. I had a massive reaction to the stress drug and they wanted me to go to A&E. Scan was clear, so it did not pick up coronary artery spasm. All a bit of a disaster really.

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to Ansteynomad

Oh wow that's not great... 😱Was your heart very fast in stress part? And when you say reaction?

Milkfairy profile image
MilkfairyHeart Star in reply to Ansteynomad

I live with vasospastic angina. A cardiac MRI looks at the condition of the heart muscle itself. It can detect microvascular dysfunction causing microvascular angina however it is not the appropriate test to diagnose coronary vasospasms. That requires an angiogram when they provoke the vasospasms with acetylcholine.

As a group of patients those of us living with vasospastic angina do sometimes react differently to cardiac MRIs.

I had mine to check that my vasospasms are not damaging my heart, which so far even after 9 years they haven't.

I ended up in A&E because of a Cardiac MRI however that's because of how my blood vessels responded to the adenosine which is not what usually happens.

I feel it's important to make this clear otherwise the orginal poster may feel he may have the same reaction.

Dpc2019 profile image
Dpc2019 in reply to Milkfairy

Hey hope you are safe and well and thank you always for your feedback your so helpful, I appreciate you 😊

Ah well to get me even feet first in one of those scanners I would have to be knocked out. All of you, you have been through them are so brave in my book. I salute you. ☠️👍

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