In the year 2002, magnetic field strength of more than 2 T was cleared for clinical patient care. Since then, an increasing number of magnetic resonance (MR) systems operating at a field strength of 3.0 T (and higher) have been installed worldwide. This article is the first of a two-part series on clinical high-field-strength MR imaging. Some basic physical effects of higher magnetic fields as they pertain to clinical MR imaging and spectroscopy are reviewed, from the perspective of a clinical radiologist, and strategies that are useful to avoid magnetic field-related difficulties and artifacts are discussed. Advantages and downsides, which can be expected for clinical MR, are presented and compared with the current level of evidence based on published data about MR of the brain and MR angiography. In the second part of the series, clinical applications regarding cardiac, breast, musculoskeletal, abdominopelvic, and pediatric MR and MR spectroscopy will be presented.
(c) RSNA, 2008.