MR imaging of cardiac tumors

Radiographics. Sep-Oct 2005;25(5):1255-76. doi: 10.1148/rg.255045721.


Magnetic resonance (MR) imaging is an important tool in the evaluation of cardiac neoplasms. T1-weighted, T2-weighted, and gadolinium-enhanced sequences are used for anatomic definition and tissue characterization, whereas cine gradient-echo imaging is used to assess functional effects. Recent improvements in pulse sequences for cardiac MR imaging have led to superior image quality, with reduced motion artifact and improved signal-to-noise ratio and tissue contrast. Although there is some overlap in the MR imaging appearances of cardiac tumors, particularly of primary malignancies, differences in characteristic locations and features should allow confident differentiation between benign and malignant tumors. Indicators of malignancy at MR imaging are invasive behavior, involvement of the right side of the heart or the pericardium, tissue inhomogeneity, diameter greater than 5 cm, and enhancement after administration of gadolinium contrast material (as a result of higher tissue vascularity). Concomitant pericardial or pleural effusions are rare in benign processes but occur in about 50% of cases of malignant tumors. MR imaging offers improved resolution, a larger field of view, and superior soft-tissue contrast compared with those of echocardiography, suggesting that knowledge of the MR imaging features of cardiac neoplasms is important for accurate diagnosis and management.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Heart Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myxoma / diagnosis