La Radiologia medica vol:109 issue:1-2 pages:64-74
Magnetic resonance (MR) is an ideal technique for the evaluation of the pericardium since it enables the combination of high resolution anatomical images of the pericardial layers with functional information concerning the impact of pathology on diastolic heart function and cardiac filling in particular. In comparison with echocardiography, which remains the first choice technique for the study of the pericardium, MR provides larger fields of view allowing the visualisation of the entire chest, higher spatial and contrast resolution and greater reproducibility. The technique becomes particularly useful when ultrasound imaging does not provide adequate diagnostic information or requires further characterisation; ''non-echoic'' patients, loculated pericardial effusions, focal thickening of the layers and pericardial masses are usually better assessed with MR. The method also provides valuable diagnostic information for establishing the diagnosis of constrictive pericarditis and to differentiate this condition from restrictive cardiomyopathy. The aim of this paper is to present the role of MR imaging in the assessment of a patient with suspected pericardial disease, and discuss the MR technique, anatomy and the main pathological conditions.