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Papers of the Week

2020 Feb




Cardiovascular magnetic resonance: applications and practical considerations for the general cardiologist.


Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) is a rapidly evolving non-invasive imaging modality offering comprehensive, multiparametric assessment of cardiac structure and function in a variety of clinical situations. Cine imaging with CMR is the gold standard non-invasive imaging technique for the quantification of ventricular volumes and systolic function. It also affords superior visualisation of apical and right ventricular morphological abnormalities. In coronary artery disease, CMR stress perfusion imaging identifies functionally significant coronary artery disease with high sensitivity and specificity, and international guidelines recommend CMR perfusion imaging in patients with chest pain at intermediate-high risk of coronary disease. Late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) imaging is the most sensitive imaging technique for identifying infarction/viability. In non-ischaemic cardiomyopathy, LGE imaging plays vital diagnostic and prognostic roles in a number of cardiomyopathies (eg, hypertrophic and dilated cardiomyopathies, and amyloidosis). In vivo tissue characterisation with CMR enables the identification of oedema/inflammation in acute coronary syndromes/myocarditis and the diagnosis of chronic fibrotic conditions (eg, in hypertrophic and dilated cardiomyopathy, aortic stenosis and amyloidosis). CMR T2* imaging uniquely offers non-invasive assessment of iron overload states, facilitating diagnosis and management. A multiparametric CMR approach also enables differentiation of cardiac masses/tumours and is a useful adjunct to echocardiography in the assessment of valve disease. The emergence of automated, inline, quantitative methodologies will expand the scope of CMR and reduce its cost in forthcoming years.