AJR Am J Roentgenol 2009 Jan;192(1):254-8
Department of Diagnostic Imaging, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, 52621 Tel Aviv, Israel.
Objective: The diagnosis of acute myocarditis is challenging. Nonspecific clinical presentation and an overlap with the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction present a diagnostic dilemma. The purpose of this article is to describe the role of cardiac MRI and transthoracic echocardiography (TTE) in the diagnosis of acute myocarditis.
Materials And Methods: Thirty-two sequential patients (all male; average age, 33 years) with clinically suspected myocarditis were included. All patients underwent cardiac MRI with sequences dedicated for the evaluation of myocardial delayed enhancement and TTE for the evaluation of wall motion abnormalities (WMAs). Nine patients were excluded because of diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction (n=2) or inadequate cardiac MRI technique (n=7). Retrospective analysis of the images of the remaining 23 patients was performed.
Results: An epicardial pattern of abnormal patchy myocardial delayed enhancement was seen on cardiac MRI in 21 of 23 (91%) patients. WMAs were seen on TTE in eight of 23 (35%) patients. Regional rather than global involvement was seen mainly in the inferolateral segments, with a predominance in the midventricular portion.
Conclusion: Cardiac MRI might have a greater impact than TTE in confirming the presence of acute myocarditis and evaluating the extent of myocardial involvement. Cardiac MRI provides noninvasive imaging that may obviate invasive procedures such as coronary catheter angiography or endomyocardial biopsy.