MRI in Pre- and Postoperative Assessment of Tracheal Stenosis due to Pulmonary Artery Sling

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To evaluate the potential of MRI in the assessment of tracheal stenosis due to tracheal or vascular malformations, 45 children with severe respiratory distress were examined prospectively during a period of 1 year. Five of these children had tracheal stenosis due to a sling left pulmonary artery (SLPA).

Materials and Methods

Magnetic resonance examinations of the anesthetized children were performed with a 1.5 T Siemens MR imager using electro-cardiographically gated Tl-weighted SE sequences in transverse and sagittal slice orientations. Slice thickness was 3 mm and each sequence was repeated after shifting the slice position by 1 mm. Monitoring during the examinations included ECG, oscillatory blood pressure, respiratory rate, and oxygen concentration. Magnetic resonance findings were compared with esophagography, selective pulmonary angiography, bronchoscopy, Doppler sonography, and surgery. All examinations were repeated after surgical therapy to assess the improvement in tracheal stenoses and the patency of the ligated and reimplanted left pulmonary arteries.


Magnetic resonance imaging clearly revealed the course of the SLPA and its topographic relationship to the trachea as well as the coexistence of cardiovascular and tracheobronchial or esophageal malformations. The degree and length of tracheal stenoses, which were measured in the pre- and postoperative axial slices and graphically displayed, as well as the angles of the right and left main stem bronchi, could be accurately determined.


Magnetic resonance imaging in combination with bronchoscopy yielded the necessary and sufficient information for diagnosis and aided the surgeon in planning operative strategy and in postoperative follow-up.

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