Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), obtains detailed images of organs and tissues to help diagnose certain diseases or conditions. MRI does not use ionising radiation (used for x-rays or CT scans). Instead, it uses a very strong main magnetic field, rapidly changing local magnetic fields and radiofrequency energy combined with powerful computer processing to create very clear pictures of internal body structures.
The Richard Slaughter Centre of Excellence in Cardiovascular MRI at The Prince Charles Hospital is a specialty cardiovascular imaging facility and provides Australia’s largest cardiovascular MRI service. The facility also provides inpatient and non-Medicare billable general MRI services such as neurological and body MRI imaging to patients of The Prince Charles Hospital.
How to access this service
You need a referral letter from a specialist medical practitioner to access this service. GP referrals are not accepted. Your doctor will need to send your referral letter to the hospital.
You will receive an appointment booking letter or we will contact you to arrange a suitable time for your appointment.
How to prepare for your test
- Some MRI procedures require specific preparation. We will send you instructions with your appointment letter.
- Unless otherwise instructed, continue to take any medication prescribed by your doctor.
- Please call us prior to your appointment if you are, or suspect you might be, pregnant or are breastfeeding.
- Please call us prior to your appointment if you have any implanted devices such as pacemakers, neurostimulators, aneurysm clips, infusion pumps or other devices.
- Please confirm your appointment as soon as possible. Due to the demand for this service, your appointment may be cancelled if you do not confirm your appointment.
- Please arrive on time for your appointment. Due to the demand for this service, late arrivals may be rescheduled to the next available appointment.
What to bring
- Your Medicare card
- Private health insurance card (if you have one)
- Health Care Card and/or concession card (if you have one)
- Current medications (prescription, over the counter and herbal medicine)
- Relevant x-rays, scans or any other test results or reports
- Glasses, hearing aids and mobility aids
Frequently asked questions
- Upon arrival, you will be asked to complete an MRI Screening Safety Questionnaire to ensure it is safe for you to enter the MRI room. It is extremely important for your safety that you answer this questionnaire accurately.
- Prior to entering the MRI room you will need to remove all items of jewellery, keys and credit cards. In the interests of time, please only bring essential items with you.
- You will be allocated a change cubicle and instructed to put on a gown.
- MRI personnel will prepare you for the examination and explain the procedure.
- You will be escorted into the MRI room and positioned comfortably on a padded table which slides into the MRI scanner.
- Pieces of equipment will be placed over the body part being examined in order to collect data for the images.
- The MRI scanner is cylindrical in shape and open at both ends. The tunnel is well lit and ventilated.
- When the MRI scanner is taking pictures you will hear very loud thumping and knocking noises (like a jackhammer). For your comfort and protection, you will be given ear plugs or headphones and music.
- It is important that you lie still and relax. Most MRI exams take between 30 to 60 minutes to complete depending on the body part imaged. You will be told ahead of time how long your scan is expected to take.
- When the MRI procedure begins, you may breathe normally. However, for certain examinations it may be necessary for you to hold your breath for a short period of time.
- During your MRI examination, the radiographer will not be in the room with you during the scan but can see and talk to you at all times. You will be given a call button to use if you need help.
Depending on the area being scanned, you may be given MRI contrast.
- MRI contrast is a medical imaging procedure to allow your organs to be seen more clearly.
- A fine needle (IV cannula) will be put into a vein in your arm to inject the MRI contrast.
- For more information on MRI contrast and the risks involved in its use, please read the MRI Contrast Patient Information Sheet.
You can eat and drink normally after your scan is finished and go about your normal activities. Your results will be sent to your doctor.
Medical Imaging Department
Location: Ground floor, Main Building, The Prince Charles Hospital
Phone: (07) 3139 4599 (appointments)
Fax: (07) 3139 4807
Open: Monday-Friday 8.00am-5.00pm
Need help outside hours?
For non-urgent medical issues call 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84) or visit your GP.
In an emergency call 000.
The Richard Slaughter Centre of Excellence in Cardiovascular MRI at The Prince Charles Hospital performs all types of cardiac MRI examinations (acquired and congenital heart diseases). Children under the age of 12 may be referred to the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital.
Specialty general and non-Medicare billable MRI examinations are performed on TPCH patients following approval by the duty Radiologist.