Use of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging for diagnosis of cardiac diseases and treatment monitoring is expanding. Delayed myocardial enhancement MR imaging is performed after administration of paramagnetic contrast agents and is used for a growing number of clinical applications. This technique was developed primarily for characterization of myocardial scarring after myocardial infarction. On delayed enhancement MR images, scarring or fibrosis appears as an area of high signal intensity that is typically subendocardial or transmural in a coronary artery distribution. However, delayed myocardial enhancement is not specific for myocardial infarction and can occur in a variety of other disorders, such as inflammatory or infectious diseases of the myocardium, cardiomyopathy, cardiac neoplasms, and congenital or genetic cardiac conditions, as well as after cardiac interventions. In nonischemic myocardial disease, the delayed enhancement usually does not occur in a coronary artery distribution and is often midwall rather than subendocardial or transmural. Therefore, the patient's clinical history is critical in the evaluation of delayed myocardial enhancement MR images.
Copyright RSNA, 2006.