Myocardial inflammation has been hypothesised to be the common underlying mechanism through which several cardiovascular diseases develop and progress. Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) has become a powerful non-invasive tool that enables the direct visualisation of the myocardium. The emerging use of ultrasmall superparamagnetic particles of iron oxide (USPIO) and their magnetic properties is gaining a lot of research interest. USPIO-enhanced CMR can provide valuable information, as it allows for the identification of active inflammation in the myocardium, a process that has been hypothesised to be the substrate for adverse remodelling and, eventually, heart failure. In this review, we summarise the properties of USPIO and their role in cardiac magnetic resonance imaging as well as their clinical applications.