Two-dimensional echocardiography has become the standard technique for evaluation of cardiac and paracardiac mass lesions. We have used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as an independent assessment of cardiac-associated masses in patients with echocardiograms demonstrating sessile atrial tumors. MRI was performed in seven patients, ages 33 to 84, whose echocardiographic diagnoses included left atrial mass (five), right atrial mass (one), and interatrial mass (one). In four of the patients with a diagnosis of left atrial mass, MRI showed extracardiac compression of the atrium, simulating a tumor (hiatal hernia, tortuous descending aorta, bronchogenic cyst). MRI was entirely normal in one patient with an apparent left atrial mass. MRI elucidated extension of an extracavitary mass into the interatrial septum in two patients. One of these patients with an echocardiographic right atrial mass had extension of a lipoma into the interatrial septum without atrial tumor. MRI confirmed the echocardiographic diagnosis of an interatrial mass in the other patient. We conclude that MRI, because of its ability to define anatomic relationships and tissue characteristics, is a powerful noninvasive tool for evaluating suspected cardiac mass lesions. Although echocardiography remains the primary screening test for the detection of cardiac masses, MRI is a more specific modality for precise diagnosis. Correct MRI interpretation may obviate the need for invasive studies or surgery.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine