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Top Magn Reson Imaging. 2003 Oct;14(5):386-402.

Contrast-enhanced cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging.

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Department of Diagnostic Radiology, University Hospital Saarland, Homburg/Saar, Germany.


Since its introduction in the early 1990s, contrast-enhanced (CE) cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has evolved rapidly for the assessment of cardiac pathologies, including in particular ischemic heart disease and inflammatory conditions. Likewise, CE-magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is now used routinely to evaluate the thoracic vasculature. This article reviews the current use of extracellular gadolinium-based agents in CE cardiovascular imaging, focusing on ischemic heart disease, inflammatory myocardial conditions, and the use of CE-MRA in imaging of the pulmonary and aortic vasculature. Recent advances in fast and ultrafast MRI combined with the use of extracellular contrast media allow noninvasive measurements of multiple parameters of the cardiovascular system in less than 40 minutes. Beyond the assessment of left ventricular wall motion and morphology, CE cardiac MRI allows depiction of myocardial perfusion and thereby provides information regarding microvascular integrity and myocardial viability. The excellent spatial resolution of MRI, especially for the distinction of nontransmural versus transmural extent of pathology, has been shown to be superior to other modalities that are often nonlocalizing, nonspecific, or more invasive. Additional advantages of CE-MRA, particularly for the thoracic vasculature, include safety, its noninvasive character, large field of view, and the ability to demonstrate complicated three-dimensional relationships without the need for iodinated, nephrotoxic contrast media.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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