Introductory cardiovascular magnetic resonance

Br J Cardiol 2012;19:56 Leave a comment
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Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance

Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) is playing an increasing role in the diagnosis and classification of heart disease, with as many as one in seven diagnoses changed when scrutinised using CMR. Accordingly, the Cardiology Curriculum requires trainees to observe and report 50 CMR cases, which can be challenging given the current availability of CMR.

Given the gulf between easily accessible training, and the need for experience in CMR, several doctors working with the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (SCMR) produced an online, fully accredited course to teach CMR. It is free-to-access for all, but if you want accreditation or CME/CPD you need to be a member of either SCMR or the British Cardiovascular Society (BCS).

Over 10 modules, the course covers essential knowledge ranging from MR safety to the assessment of congenital heart disease. Each module consists of didactic training in the form of pre-recorded lectures, coupled with clinical CMR cases, accessed via an easy to use online WebPACS service. The lectures given by experts in the field have been recorded at conferences – as a result they are aimed at an audience knowledgeable in CMR terminology, but remain an excellent teaching resource.

The course first covers CMR safety (magnetic fields and contrast agents) and physics. Later there were a wide range of cases – diseases of the aorta, valvular heart disease, pericardial disease, infarct and viability imaging, cardiomyopathies and an introduction to congenital heart disease. Each module has MCQs and a score of at least 70% is needed to get the certificate (for SCMR or BCS members). Marks are printed on the certificate but modules can be repeated to maximise your score.

I found the course easily accessible and an excellent (and free) training opportunity. It took me 12 hours, but I didn’t repeat sections to maximise my mark. It worked best on a fast internet connection with a large screen rather than a notebook. There were minor glitches – it seemed to work better with a Firefox browser rather than Internet Explorer. Flash is needed for the video lectures, with a sound card for the lectures, so some hospital computers will not work. The certificate was good, and can go on your CV.

Overall, this is an engaging way of learning and a useful one for an area where training is hard to come by. See for more information.

Editor’s note

BJC will soon be launching online learning. Register now at to ensure you receive full details