Differentiation of Cardiac Masses by Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging


Purpose of the Review

The purpose of this study is to review the utility of cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging in diagnosing and differentiating among different cardiac masses.

Recent Findings

Recent advances in tissue characterization have made CMR the noninvasive modality of choice in differentiating cardiac masses. Greater spatial resolution, sophisticated tissue characterization, and multiple imaging planes to assess intra-cavitary masses enable CMR to perform a “virtual biopsy” of the mass.


Cardiac tumors are rare but reporting of cardiac masses on noninvasive testing as computed tomography (CT) or echocardiogram is common. Cardiac masses can widely range from a normal structure of the heart, also known as “pseudo-mass,” to cardiac thrombus, to the benign and malignant primary and secondary tumors of the heart. CMR represents an advanced noninvasive method to differentiate between cardiac masses given its spatial and tissue characterization ability. It has become a key testing tool in the diagnostic algorithm of evaluating cardiac masses.

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Magnetic resonance imaging


Late gadolinium enhancement


First-pass perfusion


Early gadolinium enhancement


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Correspondence to Juan Lopez-Mattei.

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Parwani, P., Co, M., Ramesh, T. et al. Differentiation of Cardiac Masses by Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Curr Cardiovasc Imaging Rep 13, 1 (2020) doi:10.1007/s12410-019-9522-4

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  • Cardiac MRI
  • Cardiac mass
  • Cardiac tumor