The Future of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Matthias G. Friedrich MD


Eur Heart J. 2017;38(22):1698-1701. 

In This Article

Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance and Its Evolving Role in Clinical Cardiology

Current imaging techniques use different physical principles and diagnostic targets (see Table 1). CMR makes use of the phenomenon that virtually all molecules have specific relaxation properties after a low-energy radiofrequency pulse and therefore does not require radiation unlike CT or radioactive material as nuclear cardiology. Its spatial resolution is better than that of the nuclear scans and its image quality is more consistent than that of the echocardiography.

Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) allows for gold standard level quantification of volumes and flow. CMR first-pass perfusion has been shown to at least match the diagnostic accuracy of SPECT.[1] CMR also has the highest native tissue contrast and thereby contrast agents are not always necessary. Myocardial tissue characterization has emerged as the most important non-invasive tool in the diagnostic investigation of cardiomyopathies, especially myocarditis, iron overload, and amyloidosis. CMR is the only non-invasive technique to demonstrate myocardial oedema and iron overload. Finally, CMR clearly stands out because of its versatility and the unmatched breadth of information obtained from a single scan.