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Eur Radiol. 2012 Feb;22(2):310-7. doi: 10.1007/s00330-011-2252-x. Epub 2011 Sep 2.

Diagnostic accuracy of contrast-enhanced MR angiography and unenhanced proton MR imaging compared with CT pulmonary angiography in chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension.

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Unit of Academic Radiology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.



To evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of contrast-enhanced MR angiography (CE-MRA) and the added benefit of unenhanced proton MR angiography compared with CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) in patients with chronic thromboembolic disease (CTE).


A 2 year retrospective study of 53 patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension who underwent CTPA and MRI for suspected pulmonary hypertension and a control group of 36 patients with no CT evidence of pulmonary embolism. The MRI was evaluated for CTE and the combined diagnostic accuracy of ce-MRA and unenhanced proton MRA was determined. CE-MRA generated lung perfusion maps were also assessed.


The overall sensitivity and specificity of CE-MRA in diagnosing proximal and distal CTE were 98% and 94%, respectively. The sensitivity improved from 50% to 88% for central vessel disease when CE-MRA images were analysed with unenhanced proton MRA. The CE-MRA identified more stenoses (29/18), post-stenosis dilatation (23/7) and occlusions (37/29) compared with CTPA. The CE-MRA perfusion images showed a sensitivity of 92% for diagnosing CTE.


CE-MRA has high sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing CTE. The sensitivity of CE-MRA for visualisation of adherent central and lobar thrombus significantly improves with the addition of unenhanced proton MRA which delineates the vessel wall.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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