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Year : 2001  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 98-111

Magnetic resonance angiography imaging of the coronary arteries

Department of Radiology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, N.Y, USA

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Noninvasive magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology has the capacity to assess cardiac anatomy and function, promising significant advances in diagnosis and management of heart disease. However, as yet the technical and clinical results from MR imaging specifically of the coronary arteries have not been sufficient to substantially impact clinical care of patients with ischemic heart disease. Accordingly, an understanding of the imaging approaches, physical constraints and technical innovations, which contends with the physiologic and pathologic substrate of coronary atherosclerosis, is important. This paper reviews the technical development of MRI of coronary arteries: coronary magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). When suitably developed, coronary MRA will be the major clinical application of cardiac MRI. We will summarize the challenges that confront coronary MRA and the recent developments that make coronary MRA promising. We hope to provide the reader an informed appreciation of how coronary MRA is performed and thus how it may be used, now and in the foreseeable future.

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