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Imaging Modality Shows Great Promise in Heart Failure

Last Updated: September 30, 2009.

Cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging is the new "gold standard imaging technique" for the assessment of heart anatomy, function and viability in heart failure patients, according to a report in the Oct. 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging is the new "gold standard imaging technique" for the assessment of heart anatomy, function and viability in heart failure patients, according to a report in the Oct. 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Theodoros D. Karamitsos, M.D., of John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, U.K., and colleagues reviewed the state-of-the-art in CMR and its role in stratifying disease severity in heart failure and contributing conditions. With the ability to image in any plane, CMR offers complete flexibility for evaluating cardiac and extra-cardiac anatomy. Using CMR with late gadolinium enhancement contrast agents has further expanded CMR's role. Another advantage is that CMR does not use ionizing radiation and has no known side effects.

The researchers note that one of CMR's strengths is the ability to assess the etiology of heart failure, making possible targeted management strategies. CMR can assess global left and right ventricular function and diastolic function, differentiate acute and chronic injury and complications in myocardial infarction, and distinguish many forms of cardiomyopathy underlying heart failure.

"It is anticipated that the application of CMR in the evaluation of patients with heart failure will expand substantially in the coming years. We predict that most patients with heart failure will eventually undergo CMR imaging as part of the diagnostic workup and to guide management and stratify risk," the authors write.

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