The aim of this study was to measure the myocardial area at risk in rat, using MRI and manganese injection during a coronary occlusion/reperfusion model at 1.5T. A sequential protocol with occlusion and MnCl2 injection immediately followed by MRI was used with the assumption that MnCl2-induced contrast persistence is enough to accurately image the area at risk 90 min after occlusion. A total of 15 adult rats underwent a single 30-min episode of coronary occlusion followed by reperfusion. MnCl2 was injected (25 μmol/kg) at the beginning of the occlusion for 11 rats (group 1) and 6 h after reperfusion for four animals (group 2). A deficit of signal enhancement was observed in all rats. Hypoenhancement area in group 1 was correlated to the area at risk delineated by methylene blue (r = 0.96,P< 0.0001) whereas in group 2 it was correlated to the infarct area given by triphenyltetrazolium chloride (TTC) solution (r = 0.98,P= 0.003). The area at risk size was significantly correlated with left ventricle ejection fraction (LVEF), end-systolic volume and anterolateral wall thickening. This work demonstrates that hypoenhanced zone obtained after manganese injection during occlusion represents the area at risk and not only the infarct zone.