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Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM) is a specific group of heart muscle disorders characterized by inadequate ventricular relaxation during diastole. This leads to diastolic dysfunction with relative preservation of systolic function. Although short axis systolic function is usually preserved in RCM, the long axis systolic function may be severely impaired. Confirmation of diagnosis and information regarding aetiology, extent of myocardial damage, and response to treatment requires imaging. Importantly, differentiation from constrictive pericarditis (CCP) is needed, as only the latter is managed surgically. Echocardiography is the initial cardiac imaging technique but cannot reliably suggest a tissue diagnosis; although recent advances, especially tissue Doppler imaging and spectral tracking, have improved its ability to differentiate RCM from CCP. Cardiac catheterization is the reference standard, but is invasive, two-dimensional, and does not aid myocardial characterization. Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) is a versatile technique providing anatomical, morphological and functional information. In recent years, it has been shown to provide important information regarding disease mechanisms, and also been found useful to guide treatment, assess its outcome and predict patient prognosis. This review describes the CMR features of RCM, appearances in various diseases, its overall role in patient management, and how it compares with other imaging techniques.