CMR in Evaluating Valvular Heart Disease: Diagnosis, Severity, and Outcomes.
Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) is a versatile imaging tool that brings much to the assessment of valvular heart disease. Although it is best known for myocardial imaging (even in valve disease), it provides excellent assessment of all 4 heart valves, with some distinct advantages, including a free choice of image planes and accurate flow and volumetric quantification. These allow the severity of each valve lesion to be characterized, in addition to optimal visualization of the surrounding outflow tracts and vessels, to deliver a comprehensive package. It can assess each valve lesion separately (in multiple valve disease) and is not affected by hemodynamic status. The accurate quantitation of regurgitant lesions and the ability to characterize myocardial changes also provides an ability to predict future clinical outcomes in asymptomatic patients. This review outlines how CMR can be used in cardiac valve disease to compliment echocardiography and enhance the patient assessment. It covers the main CMR methods used, their strengths and limitations, and the optimal way to apply them to evaluate valve disease.