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Journal watch-MRI of the cardiomyopathies.

Di Cesare E.
Authors examined the potentialities of Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the evaluation of the main cardiomyopathies: hypertrophic, dilated, restrictive and arrhythmogenic right ventricular. The hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is generally adequately investigated by echocardiography, that well defines the myocardial thickening and the obstruction of the left ventricular output. However, by echocardiography we still have difficulties in the evaluation of the apex of the left ventricle and the right ventricle involvement. MRI provides a complete evaluation of the heart with a clear evidence also of the echocardiographic dark zones by means of a clear evidence of the apex of the right ventricle. The dilated form is also well investigated by MRI that provides a clear evaluation of the volumes, mass and ejection fraction by means of the 3D analysis including conditions of the ventricular remodelling. Moreover, this technique helps in the differential diagnosis of acute myocarditis. In the acute phase of myocarditis (first 2 weeks), in fact, the myocardium produces high signal intensity on the T2 weighted sequences due to the presence of oedema. The third form of cardiomyopathy is the restrictive one, characterised by reduced diastolic filling and diastolic volume, normality of the systolic function and parietal thickness, interstitial fibrosis and enlargement of both atria. The mean potentiality of MRI is related to the differential diagnosis with constrictive pericarditis. Only in the former, the pericardium appears irregularly thickened with areas exceeding 4 mm of pericardial thickness. Finally, the right ventricular arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy represents the main indication to MRI evaluation. With this imaging modality we are can obtain a clear morpho-functional evaluation of the right ventricle and distinguish the intramyocardial adipose substitution characterised by areas of high signal in the myocardium.
Eur J Radiol. 2001 Jun;38(3):179-84.
Journal watch-MRI of the cardiomyopathies. Reviewed by Sumer Sethi on Thursday, June 23, 2005 Rating: 5

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