Objective: To examine the value of late-enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for detection of pericardial inflammation.
Materials and methods: Late-enhancement cardiac MRI was performed in 16 patients with clinical suspicion of pericardial disease. Pericardial effusion, pericardial thickening and pericardial enhancement were assessed. MRI findings were compared with those of definitive pericardial histology (n=14) or microbiology (n=2). A control group of 12 patients with no clinical evidence of pericardial disease were also imaged with the same MRI protocol.
Results: Sensitivity and specificity for late-enhancement MRI detection of pericardial inflammation was of 100%. There was MRI late enhancement of the pericardial layers in all five patients with histological/microbiological evidence of inflammatory pericarditis. MRI demonstrated no pericardial thickening and no MRI late enhancement with or without a pericardial effusion in any of the five patients with histological evidence of a normal pericardium. MRI detected pericardial thickening in the absence of both pericardial effusion and late enhancement in all six patients with histological evidence of chronic fibrosing pericarditis. The 12 control subjects showed no evidence of pericardial MRI late enhancement.
Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that MRI late enhancement can be used to visualize pericardial inflammation in patients with clinical suspicion of pericardial disease.