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Spin echo MRI in the evaluation of hearts with a double outlet right ventricle: usefulness and limitations.

The surgical approach to a double outlet right ventricle (DORV) is dependent on the spatial relationship of the semilunar valves, outflow tracts and ventricular septal defect (VSD). The purpose of the study was to assess the value of MRI for the evaluation of cardiovascular anatomy in patients before and after surgery for DORV. Spin echo MRI was performed in 12 patients with DORV (eight preoperative and four postoperative patients). Thin-section MRI was performed in three orthogonal planes and selected angulated views were obtained. Conventional imaging by color Doppler echocardiography and cine-angiocardiography and surgical findings, when present, served as the reference standards. The results found that the spatial relationship between semilunar valves and VSD was accurately assessed by MRI in eight out of eight preoperative patients. In the four postoperative cases MRI depicted the morphology of both outflow tracts and provided adequate information on their patency. Of the eight preoperative patients, five have undergone corrective surgery and the MRI findings were confirmed. MRI provided additional information to conventional imaging preoperatively in three cases in which the VSD opened into the outlet portion of the DORV, without there being a direct relation to a semilunar valve. In two preoperative cases in which the VSD was directly committed to the aorta, conventional imaging was conclusive. MRI was unable to depict aberrant chordae tendineae in four out of four cases. We conclude that MRI provides accurate additional anatomic information in patients with DORV, which is helpful in presurgical planning as well as during follow-up. Spin echo MRI does not visualize aberrant chordae tendineae.

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