Magnetic resonance and computed tomographic evaluation of congenital heart disease

Lawrence M Boxt
Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging: JMRI 2004, 19 (6): 827-47
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CT) provide noninvasive visualization of morphologic changes in pediatric and adult patients with congenital heart disease, as well as the functional changes caused by the underlying morphologic abnormalities. Clinical experience with MRI is richer than that with fast CT, but CT appears to provide accurate and high-quality imagery for diagnosis. The two modalities may be complementary. That is, intracardiac anatomy is so well depicted by MRI, and CT provides exquisite images of the great vessels. Furthermore, in adult patients, MR and CT are helpful in demonstrating and quantitating physiologic changes superimposed by acquired cardiovascular disease on the underlying congenital malformations. Using MRI, spin echo acquisitions provide the image data for evaluation of morphologic changes, and gradient reversal techniques add functional and flow data to complement morphologic changes. Contrast-enhanced electrocardiographic (ECG)-gated multidetector and electron beam CT examination provide morphologic information and may be used as a data set for off-line functional quantitation.

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