Cardiothoracic MRI in the ICU: A 10-Year Experience

Narmadan Kumarasamy, Nima Tishbi, Shey Mukundan, Ariel L. Shiloh, Jeffrey M. Levsky, Linda B. Haramati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Rationale and Objective: The objective of this study was to identify the feasibility and pitfalls of cardiothoracic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in intensive care unit (ICU) patients. Materials and Methods: This retrospective study identified adult ICU patients scheduled for cardiothoracic MRIs during a 10-year study period. ICU patients scheduled for brain MRIs served as a comparison group. A chart review was performed to identify factors impacting a patient's ability to undergo an MRI. Differences between completed and canceled examinations for both cardiothoracic and brain MRIs were evaluated. For the cardiothoracic group, clinical indications and the diagnostic value of the study performed were also identified. Results: A total of 143 cardiothoracic MRIs and 1011 brain MRIs were requested. Cardiothoracic MRI patients were less frequently completed (52% vs 62%), more frequently men (64% vs 43%), younger (55 vs 63 years), less likely mechanically ventilated (8% vs 29%), more likely to require intravenous contrast (83% vs 23%), and had longer examination times compared to brain MRI patients (64 vs 21 minutes). Successful completion of cardiothoracic MRI was associated with lower serum creatinine, higher glomerular filtration rate, and the absence of mechanical ventilation; significant differences were not seen with regard to gender and use of vasoactive agents. Cardiothoracic MRI results were diagnostic in 69% of examinations, most frequently when performed for myocardial disease (84%) and aortic disease (33%), and less frequently for viability (33%). Conclusions: In an ICU population, successful completion of cardiothoracic MRI is challenging but feasible in patients with intact renal function and the absence of mechanical ventilation. Examinations were most frequently diagnostic for myocardial and aortic disease indications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-364
Number of pages6
JournalAcademic Radiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • cardiac
  • Cardiothoracic MRI
  • critically ill
  • ICU
  • thoracic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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