, Volume 22, Issue 11, pp 2304-2306,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 21 Jul 2012

Diagnostic relevance of high field MRI in clinical neuroradiology: the advantages and challenges of driving a sports car


High field MRI operating at 3 T is increasingly being used in the field of neuroradiology on the grounds that higher magnetic field strength should theoretically lead to a higher diagnostic accuracy in the diagnosis of several disease entities. This Editorial discusses the exhaustive review by Wardlaw and colleagues of research comparing 3 T MRI with 1.5 T MRI in the field of neuroradiology. Interestingly, the authors found no convincing evidence of improved image quality, diagnostic accuracy, or reduced total examination times using 3 T MRI instead of 1.5 T MRI. These findings are highly relevant since a new generation of high field MRI systems operating at 7 T has recently been introduced.

Key Points

Higher magnetic field strengths do not necessarily lead to a better diagnostic accuracy.

Disadvantages of high field MR systems have to be considered in clinical practice.

Higher field strengths are needed for functional imaging, spectroscopy, etc.

Disappointingly there are few direct comparisons of 1.5 and 3 T MRI.

Whether the next high field MR generation (7 T) will improve diagnostic accuracy has to be investigated.