Diagnostic performance of contrast-enhanced and unenhanced combined pulmonary artery MRI and magnetic resonance venography techniques in the diagnosis of venous thromboembolism
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Objective: We aimed to determine the diagnostic performance of the contrast-enhanced and unenhanced combined pulmonary arterial MRI and magnetic resonance venography techniques in the diagnosis of venous thromboembolism (VTE). Methods: 44 patients who underwent CT pulmonary angiography (CTPA) for suspected PE constituted the study population. Patients underwent combined pulmonary and lower extremity MRI, and Doppler ultrasonography within 72 h after CTPA. Combined MRI included two sequences: unenhanced steady-state free precession (SSFP) and contrast-enhanced three-dimensional (3D) gradient echo (GRE). The presence of emboli in pulmonary arteries and thrombi in lower extremity veins on 3D-GRE and SSFP sequences was recorded. Results: CTPA showed a total of 244 emboli in 33 (75%) patients whereas contrast-enhanced 3D-GRE MRI showed deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in 34 (77%) subjects. Sensitivities for SSFP vs 3D-GRE MRI respectively in PE detection were 87.9 vs 100% on a per-patient basis, and 53.7 vs 73% on a per-embolus basis. Of 34 patients with established DVT, 31 (91%) were detected by Doppler ultrasound and 29 (85%) were detected by SSFP technique respectively. Conclusion: Both contrast-enhanced and unenhanced combined MRI of acute PE and DVT are feasible one-stop-shopping techniques in patients with suspected thromboembolism. Advances in knowledge: Pulmonary VTE is a common disease with high mortality. Non-invasive techniques withhigh accuracy are required for the assessment of VTE. CT-related radiation and contrast material risks cause concerns. MRI is a radiation-free technique evaluating the vessels with and without contrast. Combined contrast enhancedor unenhanced pulmonary and lower extremity MRI is feasible in patients with suspected thromboembolism.