DIAGNOSIS / IMAGING: MRI
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) MRI scanners use strong magnetic fields and radiowaves to form images of the body. An MRI examination of the aorta will produce a 3 dimensional reconstruction of the aorta. It is a non-invasive test and unlike the CT does not use iodinated contrast material and can assess the degree of aortic insufficiency. From the MRI the location of the intimal tear, involvement of branch vessels and locate any secondary tears. This test also provides useful information for the cardiac surgeon in regards to the size of replacement graft if surgery is necessary. The MRI scan has a high sensitivity in assessment of aortic dissection but the disadvantage is the availability of the MRI machine, the scan is at least 30 minutes long whereas the CT scan can be less than 10 minutes, MRI scanning is contraindicated in patients with metallic implants, and due to the length of time of the scan patients can experience claustrophobia.
MRI scan of chest with contrast dye of the aorta anatomy.