The favorable technical capabilities of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) make it well suited for delineating the heart and great vessels. The clinical applications of cardiac MRI have gradually expanded in the past several years. Currently, the most important applications use the modality to provide detailed morphologic information, especially about surgical lesions of the heart. Particularly noteworthy have been applications of MRI in preoperative assessment of patients with certain types of congenital heart disease, cardiac masses, and lesions of the great vessels. Other roles for the modality such as in functional cardiac imaging and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy remain attractive, but these have not yet entered the domain of routine clinical practice.
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