This study was to evaluate the accuracy of MR angiography (MRA) using a Gd-DTPA-polyethylene glycol polymer (Gd-DTPA-PEG) with a 3D fast gradient echo (3D fgre) technique in diagnosing pulmonary embolism in a canine model. Pulmonary emboli were created in six mongrel dogs (20-30 kg) by injecting tantalum oxide-doped autologous blood clots into the femoral veins via cutdowns. MRI was performed with a 1.5 T GE Signa imager using a 3D fgre sequence (11.9/2.3/15 degrees) following intravenous injection of 0.06 mmol Gd/kg of Gd-DTPA-PEG. The dogs were euthanized and spiral CT of the lungs were then obtained on the deceased dogs. The MRI images were reviewed independently and receiver-operating-characteristic (ROC) curves were used for statistical analysis using spiral CT results as the gold standard. The pulmonary emboli were well visualized on spiral CT. Out of 108 pulmonary segments in the six dogs, 24 contained emboli >2 mm and 27 contained emboli < or = 2 mm. With unblinded review, MRI detected 79% of emboli >2 mm and only 48% of emboli < or = 2 mm. The blinded review results were significantly worse. Gd-DTPA-PEG enhanced 3D fgre MRI is potentially able to demonstrate pulmonary embolism with fairly high degree of accuracy, but specialized training for the interpretations will be required.