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Int J Cardiovasc Imaging. 2006 Jun-Aug;22(3-4):457-75. Epub 2005 Nov 3.

Coarctation of the aorta: pre and postoperative evaluation with MRI and MR angiography; correlation with echocardiography and surgery.

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Department of Radiology, University Hospital of Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.



To compare MRI and MRA with Doppler-echocardiography (DE) in native and postoperative aortic coarctation, define the best MR protocol for its evaluation, compare MR with surgical findings in native coarctation.


136 MR studies were performed in 121 patients divided in two groups: Group I, 55 preoperative; group II, 81 postoperative. In group I, all had DE and surgery was performed in 35 cases. In group II, DE was available for comparison in 71 cases. MR study comprised: spin-echo, cine, velocity-encoded cine (VEC) sequences and 3D contrast-enhanced MRA.


In group I, diagnosis of coarctation was made by DE in 33 cases and suspicion of coarctation and/or aortic arch hypoplasia in 18 cases. Aortic arch was not well demonstrated in 3 cases and DE missed one case. There was a close correlation between VEC MRI and Doppler gradient estimates across the coarctation, between MRI aortic arch diameters and surgery but a poor correlation in isthmic measurements. In group II, DE detected a normal isthmic region in 31 out of 35 cases. Postoperative anomalies (recoarctation, aortic arch hypoplasia, kinking, pseudoaneurysm) were not demonstrated with DE in 50% of cases.


MRI is superior to DE for pre and post-treatment evaluation of aortic coarctation. An optimal MR protocol is proposed. Internal measurement of the narrowing does not correspond to the external aspect of the surgical narrowing.

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