MR Imaging of Thoracic Aortic Disease

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Abstract

A number of congenital defects and acquired disease processes affect the thoracic aorta, and traditionally, computed tomography (CT) has been the mainstay of imaging, especially in evaluation of the acute aorta. However, recent advances in magnetic resonance (MR) imaging such as electrocardiographically (ECG) triggered breath-hold sequences and ultrafast 3-dimensional MR angiography (MRA) are bringing MR imaging to the forefront of imaging of the thoracic aorta. By providing high-resolution morphological imaging and sophisticated vascular flow analysis for functional data, this modality can provide a comprehensive, reproducible evaluation of the thoracic aorta. In this review, we discuss the role of MR imaging in the evaluation of thoracic aorta pathology along with pertinent examples of aortic abnormalities.

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