Friday, June 5, 2009

Magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy of the human heart.

Magnetic resonance imaging and spectroscopy have a great potential both for clinical cardiac diagnostics and for research in cardiac physiology, metabolism and disease. At the present time, cardiac MRI already is the method of choice in several clinical conditions, especially in imaging central vasculature and intra- and paracardiac masses. With the recent development of contrast agents and ability to measure both flow velocities and flow volume, the cardiac MRI is likely to have a profound role in evaluating coronary arterial disease as well as valvular heart disease. The limitations due to long imaging times of cardiac MRI-studies are likely to be overcome with the development of ultrafast imaging techniques in the near future. On the other hand, cardiac MRS is still a research tool, which needs technical improvements before it can be widely utilized in clinical work. However, attempts to this aim are highly justified, when the possibility that MRS will provide metabolic information of the heart is considered and bearing in mind, that MR-magnets with sufficient field strength for MRS are increasingly in use in most modern hospitals. The role of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy (MRS) in the evaluation of heart diseases is still evolving. Some clear indications for clinical use of cardiac MRI have already become apparent, whereas cardiac MRS is still confined to research applications. The current paper consists of a review of the role of MRI for cardiovascular diagnosis together with a review of the currents status of cardiac MRS.

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