Is there a role for cardiac magnetic resonance imaging during pregnancy?

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PURPOSE: To assess the role of cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) for the evaluation and management of women with cardiac disorders in pregnancy and postpartum.

METHODS: Retrospective record review of women at a university-affiliated, single institution referred for CMR without contrast due to known or suspected cardiac disorders between January 2010 and December 2015. Medical records, echocardiogram and CMR reports were reviewed. Instances where clinical management was changed based on CMR findings were identified.

RESULTS: There were 17 peripartum CMR studies performed without contrast in 17 pregnancies from 16 women. Indications for CMR included congenital heart disease (N = 8, 47.1%), Marfan syndrome or strong family history of Marfan syndrome (N = 5, 29.4%), cardiomyopathy (N = 1, 5.9%), cardiac mass (N = 1, 5.9%), persistent dyspnea with a normal echocardiogram (N = 1, 5.9%), and hypertension with suspected aortic root dilation (N = 1, 5.9%). CMR confirmed the echocardiogram diagnosis in 8 (47.1%) and improved the diagnosis in 5 (29.4%). Availability of CMR findings changed the delivery management in 2/17 (11.8%) women. CMR was especially helpful in assessing the size of the aortic root in women at risk for dilation.

CONCLUSIONS: Although echocardiogram imaging of the heart is considered the first-line method for assessing the maternal cardiac status, CMR can provide information about cardiac anatomy and function in pregnant women with complex cardiac disease or suspected aortic pathology. Management may be changed based on results.

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Department of Medicine, Cardiology Division, Department of Medicine Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Faculty, Department of Radiology and Diagnostic Medical Imaging

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