Heart Failure Reviews

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 289–306 | Cite as

MR, CT, and PET imaging in pericardial disease

  • Peter Alter
  • Jens H. Figiel
  • Thomas P. Rupp
  • Georg F. Bachmann
  • Bernhard Maisch
  • Marga B. Rominger
Article

Abstract

Although echocardiography remains the standard diagnostic tool for identifying pericardial diseases, procedures with better delineation of morphology and heart function are often required. The pericardium consists of an inner visceral (epicardium) and outer parietal layer (pericardium), which constitute for the pericardial cavity. Pericardial effusion can occur as transudate, exudate, pyopneumopericardium, or hemopericardium. Potential causes are inflammatory processes, that is, pericarditis due to autoimmune or infective reasons, neoplasms, irradiation, or systemic disorders, chronic renal failure, endocrine, or metabolic diseases. Pericardial fat can mimic pericardial effusion. Using various image-acquisition sequences, MRI allows identifying and separating fluid and solid structures. Fast spin-echo T1-weighted sequences with black-blood preparation are favourably used for morphological evaluation. Fast spin-echo T2-weighted sequences, particularly with fat saturation, and short-tau inversion-recovery sequences are useful to visualize oedema and inflammation. For further tissue characterization, delayed inversion-recovery imaging is used. Therefore, image acquisition is performed at 5–20 min subsequent to contrast agent administration, the so-called technique of late gadolinium enhancement. Ventricular volumes and myocardial mass can be assessed accurately by steady-state free-precession sequences, which is required to measure cardiac function and ventricular wall stress. Constrictive pericarditis usually results from chronic inflammatory processes leading to increased stiffness, which impedes the slippage of both pericardial layers and thereby the normal cardiac filling. CT imaging can favourably assess pericardial calcification. Thus, MR and CT imaging allow a comprehensive delineation of the pericardium. Superior to echocardiography, both methods provide a larger field of view and depiction of the complete chest including abnormalities of the surrounding mediastinum and lungs. PET provides unique information on the in vivo metabolism of 18-fluorodeoxyglucose that can be superimposed on CT findings and is useful for identifying inflammatory processes or masses, for example neoplasms. These imaging techniques provide advanced information of anatomy and cardiac function to optimize the pericardial access, for example by the AttachLifter system, for diagnosis and treatment.

Keywords

Pericardial disease Pericarditis Pericardial effusion Constrictive pericarditis Restrictive cardiomyopathy Magnetic resonance imaging Computed tomography Positron emission tomography Ventricular wall stress Pericardiocentesis AttachLifter 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Alter
    • 1
  • Jens H. Figiel
    • 2
  • Thomas P. Rupp
    • 1
  • Georg F. Bachmann
    • 3
  • Bernhard Maisch
    • 1
  • Marga B. Rominger
    • 2
  1. 1.Internal Medicine—CardiologyPhilipps UniversityMarburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyPhilipps UniversityMarburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of RadiologyKerckhoff Heart CenterBad NauheimGermany

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