Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been shown to be an ideal noninvasive tool for imaging and diagnosing myocardial and pericardial diseases. In dilated and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, MRI is suitable for the diagnosis and quantification of ventricular volume, stroke volume, and myocardial mass. Recent developments in the area of fast imaging techniques and MR contrast agents rapidly are increasing the utility of MRI for studying and assessing myocardial diseases. MRI may become a helpful technique with which to diagnose myocarditis and myocardial involvement in amyloidosis and sarcoidosis. Contrast-enhanced MRI also can be used for patients who have undergone heart transplantation to assess early signs of transplant rejection by improved contrast between normal and pathologic myocardium. For pericardial diseases, MRI provides an exact evaluation of the pericardial thickness, and it is a very sensitive technique for identifying pericardial effusions. Differentiation between hemorrhagic, serous, or chylous pericardial effusions usually can be made by using the typical signal behavior on T1-weighted and T2-weighted sequences. Due to its greater field of view and its ability to evaluate functionally the regional ventricular and atrial motion abnormalities in the typical tissue pattern, MRI has a significant potential in the evaluation of pericardial inflammation and constrictive pericarditis. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 1999;10:617-626.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.