What is the role of MRI in the diagnosis of acute pericarditis?

Updated: Apr 02, 2019
  • Author: Sean Spangler, MD; Chief Editor: Terrence X O'Brien, MD, MS, FACC  more...
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Answer

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can provide anatomic details of the pericardium and heart without ionizing contrast or radiation. The normal pericardium can be up to 4-mm thick.

This imaging modality is sensitive for detecting pericardial effusion and loculated pericardial effusion and thickening. Additionally, delayed enhancement of thickened pericardium after administration of contrast medium usually suggests active inflammation characteristic of acute pericarditis. [40]


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