What is the role of MRI in the workup of patients presenting with symptoms of asthma?

Updated: Jan 07, 2019
  • Author: Michael J Morris, MD, FACP, FCCP; Chief Editor: Zab Mosenifar, MD, FACP, FCCP  more...
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Answer

Aside from cardiovascular applications, MRI of the thorax is used primarily as a problem-solving modality in the workup of patients with lung, mediastinal, or pleural lesions. MRI is a useful alternative to CT pulmonary angiography in evaluating possible pulmonary embolic disease in patients in whom iodinated contrast agent cannot be administered and when the avoidance of ionizing radiation is preferred. In bronchial asthma, the most promising work appears to involve the use of special paramagnetic gases, which amplify the low signal-to-noise ratio of conventional spin-echo and gradient-echo techniques by several thousand times. The use of such gases offsets the disadvantages of the large magnetic susceptibility states with consequent shortened T2 signals induced by the air-alveolar interfaces.


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