Despite its nonionizing technique and exquisite soft tissue characterization, noncardiovascular, and nonmusculoskeletal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the chest has been considered impractical due to various challenges such as respiratory motion, cardiac motion, vascular pulsatility, air susceptibility, and paucity of signal in the lung. With advances in MRI, it is now possible to perform diagnostically useful and good quality MRIs of the chest, but literature on subspecialized chest MRI practices is limited. The purpose of this manuscript is to describe the rationale, nuances, and logistics that went into developing such a practice in the Division of Thoracic Radiology at our institution. The topics addressed include technical and clinical considerations, support at administrative and clinical levels, protocol development, and economic considerations compared with conventional practices. Various MRI techniques are also specifically discussed to facilitate chest MRI at other sites. Although chest MRI is used in a relatively small number of patients at this point, in certain patients, chest MRI can provide additional information to optimize medical management. A few clinical cases illustrate the quality and clinical utility of chest MRI. Given recent advances in MRI techniques, it is now an opportune time to develop a chest MRI practice.
Keywords: Chest magnetic resonance imaging; practice; protocols; thoracic MRI.