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MRI techniques improve pulmonary embolism detection
Date:3/18/2012

OAK BROOK, Ill. New research shows that the addition of two magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequences to a common MR angiography technique significantly improves detection of pulmonary embolism, a potentially life-threatening condition traditionally diagnosed through computed tomography (CT). Results of the study are published online in the journal Radiology.

Pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clotusually from the legtravels to the lung and blocks the pulmonary artery or one of its main branches. CT angiography is the gold standard for diagnosis, but it exposes patients to ionizing radiation and iodinated contrast agent, which carries a risk of allergic reactions and kidney damage in some patients.

"MRI is developing much faster than CT," said Diego R. Martin, M.D., Ph.D., head of the Department of Radiology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson. "The images we're getting are already significantly better than they were a year ago. There is no doubt that in the future we will be able to offer a non-radiation-based alternative to CT for the diagnosis of pulmonary embolism."

MRI has been used for pulmonary embolism detection in pregnant women and patients whose kidneys may be harmed by CT angiography contrast agents. However, the Prospective Investigation of Pulmonary Embolism Diagnosis III (PIOPED III) study, a major multicenter trial, found that centers had difficulty obtaining adequate quality MR pulmonary angiography (MRPA) for suspected pulmonary embolism. The PIOPED researchers determined that MRPA should be considered only at centers that routinely perform it and perform it well, and for patients who have contraindications to standard tests.

In the new study, the research team assessed the impact of two additional MRI sequences on MRPA's accuracy. The two techniquescontrast-enhanced volumetric interpolated breath-hold examination (VIBE) and non-contrast true fast imaging with steady-sta
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Contact: Linda Brooks
lbrooks@rsna.org
630-590-7762
Radiological Society of North America
Source:Eurekalert

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