Measurement of regional myocardial perfusion is important for the diagnosis and treatment of coronary artery disease. Currently used methods for the measurement of myocardial tissue perfusion are either invasive or not quantitative. Here, we demonstrate a technique for the measurement of myocardial perfusion using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with spin tagging of arterial water. In addition, it is shown that changes in perfusion can be quantitated by measuring changes in tissue T1. Perfusion images are obtained in Langendorff-perfused, isolated rat hearts for perfusion rates ranging from 5 to 22 ml/g/min. The MRI-determined perfusion rates are in excellent agreement with perfusion rates determined from measurement of bulk perfusate flow (r = 0.98). The predicted linear dependence of the measured T1 (T1app) on perfusion is also demonstrated. The ability of perfusion imaging to measure regional variations in flow is demonstrated with hearts in which perfusion defects were created by ligation of a coronary artery. These results indicate that MRI of perfusion using spin inversion of arterial water gives quantitative maps of cardiac perfusion.