Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has the unique ability to demonstrate pulmonary emboli, venous thrombosis, and normal pulmonary arteries in a single noninvasive study. Spin echo and gradient echo pulse sequences take advantage of the natural high contrast between flowing blood and intraluminal thrombus or embolus. Magnetic resonance angiographic (MRA) techniques offer three-dimensional display of the pulmonary vasculature. Each of these techniques may be viewed in cinematic fashion to depict hemodynamic changes associated with the cardiac cycle. Clinical studies have demonstrated sensitivity in the 75% to 100% range and specificities between 42% and 90% depending on technique. MRI technology is still rapidly advancing and clinical accuracy will no doubt improve as experience with now techniques develops. At present, MRI should play a complimentary role to conventional methods of diagnosing thromboembolic disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging