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AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2011 Apr;196(4):W387-93. doi: 10.2214/AJR.09.3302.

The prevalence and clinical significance of noncardiac findings on cardiac MRI.

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Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Rhode Island Hospital, Warren Alpert School of Medicine of Brown University, 593 Eddy St, Providence, RI 02903, USA.



This study aims to evaluate the prevalence, nature, and clinical significance of noncardiac findings (NCFs) at cardiac MRI.


We retrospectively reviewed 240 consecutive, clinically indicated cardiac MRI examinations conducted over a 21-month period. All noncardiac findings (NCFs) were recorded. Those findings that were included in the report impressions were regarded as clinically important (INCF). Electronic medical records and related imaging studies were then reviewed for all patients having INCFs to determine their actual clinical significance. A finding was significant (SNCF) if it was associated with a new diagnosis, treatment, or intervention. The prevalences of findings in the neck, chest, and abdomen were determined.


We found 162 NCFs in 104 studies (43%), of which 94 (58%) were INCFs, and 16 (10%) were SNCFs. There was at least one INCF in 65 studies (27%)--67% of which were new--and at least one SNCF in 13 studies (5%). Compared with younger patients, patients 60 years and older were much more likely to have INCFs (43% vs 17%) and SNCFs (12% vs 1%). Overall, 29% of NCFs were in the abdomen, 70% in the chest, and 1% in the neck. The most common INCFs were pleural effusion (n = 26), air-space disease or atelectasis (n = 13), and adenopathy (n = 9). Five new cases of cancer were diagnosed, including lung (n = 2), lymphoma (n = 2), and thyroid (n = 1).


NCFs are commonly encountered on cardiac MRI studies, many of which are clinically relevant. Proper recognition of NCFs is critical to the comprehensive management of patients referred for cardiac MRI.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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