Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging clearly delineates cardiovascular structures without interference from overlying bone and lung tissue. The techniques of NMR imaging and echocardrography were compared In 26 patients with pericardial effusions, 10 of whom had associated pleural effusions. In those patients with fluid detected by both techniques, estimated size of the effusion tended to be somewhat larger by NMR. NMR imaging detected several small pericardial effusions that were not visualized by echocardiography. Both techniques demonstrated loculation well, although NMR imaging was better for detecting fluid located superiorly at the aortic pericardial reflection site, medially at the border of the right atrium and posteriorly at the left ventricular apex. In the 14 patients with documented exudative effusions (10 pericardial, 4 pleural) NMR signals of varying intensity were present in the effusion. One patient had a documented transudative effusion and no NMR signal was observed in the fluid. NMR imaging clearly distinguished pericardial from pleural effusions. NMR imaging is indicated when a suspected pericardial effusion is not detected by echocardiography or when specific localization or fluid characterization is desired.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine