The role of cardiac MR in new-onset heart failure.
In patients with heart failure, cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) allows a multifaceted approach to cardiac evaluation by enabling an assessment of morphology, function, perfusion, viability, tissue characterization, and blood flow during a single comprehensive examination. Given its accuracy and reproducibility, many believe CMR is the reference standard for the noninvasive assessment of ventricular volumes, mass, and function, and offers an ideal means for the serial assessment of disease progression or treatment response in individual patients. Delayed-enhancement (DE)-CMR provides a direct assessment of myopathic processes. This permits a fundamentally different approach than that traditionally taken to ascertaining the etiology of cardiomyopathy, which is vital in patients with nonischemic cardiomyopathy and incidental coronary artery disease and patients with mixed, ischemic and nonischemic cardiomyopathy. Precise tissue characterization with DE-CMR also improves the diagnosis of left ventricular thrombus, for which it is the emerging clinical reference standard. There is a growing body of literature on the utility of CMR for patient risk stratification, and its potential role in important management decisions such as for cardiac resynchronization therapy and defibrillator placement.
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