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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

When my mother underwent chemotherapy, we spent a lot of time visiting the phlebotomy lab for blood testing. I was always impressed by how easily the phlebotomist was able to find and puncture a vein to draw blood on the first try. I knew there had to be a method to it, and was astounded by how effortless and painless they made the process. It led me to research a lot about blood tests, from drawing to the actual screening. I've created this site to share what I've learned in the hopes of teaching others. The more you understand, the more control you can have over your own health care.



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Testing, Testing 123: Phlebotomy Basics

A Cardiac MRI Gives Your Cardiologist Important Information About Your Heart And Arteries

by Francisco Arnold

If you have coronary artery disease or have had a heart attack, your doctor might want you to take an MRI imaging exam. An MRI provides clear and detailed pictures of the inside of your body by using a magnetic field. This type of imaging test can be used on any part of the body, and one important application is for the evaluation of your heart and arteries. Here's what you can expect when you have a heart MRI.

Testing Is Done As An Outpatient

You'll go to an MRI clinic or radiology department to have the MRI, and you'll be able to go home as soon as the test is over. If you have a phobia about enclosed spaces, your doctor might offer a sedative before the test, but sedation is not routinely given, and you'll be alert throughout the test. You'll be alone in the testing room, but you can see the staff through the glass and you'll be able to talk back and forth.

Preparation Includes Removing Metal Objects

Your doctor will inform you if you need to follow any special procedures before the MRI. You might be able to eat, drink, and take your medications as normal, but one thing you must do is remove all metal objects before the test starts. You'll have to leave jewelry, credit cards, your smartphone, and anything else that is metal or that can be damaged by a magnetic field at home or in the waiting room with someone who accompanied you to the imaging center.

Staying Still Ensures The Best Results

An MRI isn't painful, but you might feel odd sensations and you'll hear loud noises. You'll probably be given headphones to drown out the noise made by the machine and so you can hear instructions from the radiologist. You may find the hardest part about the test is having to stay still when the images are taken. You'll need to hold completely still and you may even need to hold your breath while the machine is taking pictures. You'll be stretched out on a table inside the machine for several minutes, and it's important to follow instructions so the doctor has the clearest images of your heart and arteries.

You probably won't know the results of the MRI imaging test right away. The radiologist sends a report to your doctor who notifies you of the results. The test may show the amount of damage from a heart attack, plaque in your arteries, or even a birth defect you were unaware of. This information helps your doctor understand your symptoms better so the best treatment plan can be developed.