MRI cardiac catheterization a promising tool against congenital heart disease in children

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The one-two combination of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with catheter interventions shows promise in the treatment of children with congenital heart disease, according to a report in the September issue of Catheterization and Cardiovascular Interventions: Journal of the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions.

"MRI is on the verge of changing the way both diagnostic and interventional catheterization is done in children with congenital heart disease," said Phillip Moore, MD, a professor of clinical pediatrics and director of the Congenital Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco, in a release. "It's starting to reach its stride and, in our hospital, is already replacing some diagnostic catheterization procedures."

MRI cardiac catheterization capable of doing many things that conventional x-ray angiography simply cannot. MRI can provide a detailed three-dimensional picture of the heart whereas x-ray is more limited, depicting the inside of the blood vessels and heart chambers in two dimensions, with the rest of the heart not clearly defined. The more powerful MRI allows interventional cardiologists to see blood vessels in their entirety, provides detailed measurements of the size and volume of heart chambers and heart muscle thickness, and to evaluate valves and other structures in relation to one another, from all angles.

"MRI allows us to get a much better three-dimensional image-almost the image that a surgeon gets when looking directly at the heart," said. Moore. "That's information you can only guess at with angiography."

Additionally, MRI can provide images of the heart in motion and in real time. Because of this, physicians can more easily track a special MRI-compatible catheter through the heart and the technology helps in making fine adjustments while implanting therapeutic devices.
The report states that MRI cardiac catheterization requires that researchers and commercial manufacturers develop a wider variety of catheters, devices, and advances in scan design to be used in MRI scanners before its full potential can realized.