(BETHESDA, MD)--Technological advances that combine the stunning image quality of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with the efficient elegance of catheter interventions are reshaping the treatment of children with congenital heart disease. According to a report in the September 2005 issue of Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions: Journal of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, faster scan times, more detailed images, more powerful magnets, and open scanners that offer physicians access to patients during interventional procedures are all making real-time, MRI-guided cardiac catheterization a reality.
"MRI is on the verge of changing the way both diagnostic and interventional catheterization is done in children with congenital heart disease," said Dr. Phillip Moore, a professor of clinical pediatrics and director of the Congenital Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. "It's starting to reach its stride and, in our hospital, is already replacing some diagnostic catheterization procedures."
MRI cardiac catheterization is capturing the attention of interventional cardiologists because it can do what conventional x-ray angiography cannot. While x-ray angiography depicts the inside of the blood vessels and heart chambers in two dimensions, and the rest of the heart as a mass of gray, MRI provides a detailed three-dimensional picture of the heart. This enables the interventional cardiologist to see blood vessels inside and out, to accurately measure the size and volume of heart chambers and the thickness of the heart muscle, and to visualize the heart valves and other structures in relation to one another, and from any angle.
"MRI allows us to get a much better three-dimensional image--almost the image that a surgeon gets when looking directly at the heart," Dr. Moore said. "That's information you can only guess at with angiography."
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Contact: Kathy Boyd David
Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions
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