Background: Imaging of the heart is important in the diagnosis and follow-up of a broad range of cardiac pathology. The authors discuss the growing role of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) in cardiology practice and its relevance to primary healthcare. Objective: In this article we discuss the advantages of CMR over other imaging modalities, and give a brief description of the common CMR techniques and cardiac pathologies where CMR is especially useful. Discussion: CMR provides specific advantages over other cardiac imaging modalities when evaluating pathology in congenital heart disease, cardiac masses, cardiomyopathies, and in some aspects of ischaemic and valvular heart diseases. The strength of CMR in these pathologies includes its precise anatomical delineation of structures, characterisation of myocardial tissue, and accurate, reproducible measurements of blood volume and flow. CMR is used in inpatient and outpatient settings, and is available primarily in major hospitals.