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Eur Radiol. 1999;9(9):1745-54.

Pulmonary magnetic resonance angiography.

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Department of Radiology, University of Vienna, AKH Wien, Waehringer Guertel 18-20, A-1090 Vienna, Austria.


In the past few years magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) of the pulmonary vasculature has advanced from a research tool to a clinically relevant imaging modality. Early 2D phase-contrast and time-of-flight (TOF) sequences without the use of contrast agents were time-consuming and limited by considerable imaging and motion artifacts. Since the introduction of MR scanners with stronger gradients (> 20 mT/m) and contrast-enhanced techniques, imaging of the pulmonary vasculature with adequate spatial resolution within a single breathhold is now possible. In the detection of pulmonary embolism in the lobar or segmental arteries, contrast-enhanced MRA is now on the verge of being considered an established modality, possibly competing with conventional pulmonary angiography and contrast-enhanced helical CT. In the future, utilization of phased-array torso coils, the application of navigator pulse sequences, and 3D time-resolved ultrafast MRA will overcome the final limitations of current techniques. Blood-pool MR contrast agents may provide a "one-stop-shopping" approach to the investigation of lower extremity veins and pulmonary arteries in venous thromboembolism.

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