Hepatic Imaging: Positron Emission Tomography, Digital Angiography, and Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Imaging


  • Figures 3 through 7 are reprinted by permission of the publisher from Nuclear Magnetic Resonance: Physical Principles and Instrumentation. In: Amendola BE, Amendola MA, eds. Recent Trends in Radiation Oncology and Related Fields. Amsterdam: Elsevier Publishing Co., Inc., 1983 (in press).


Major advances in diagnostic imaging of the human body have been made in recent years. Positron emission tomography, a technique founded on advances in radiopharmaceuticals and radionuclide imaging apparatus, permits imaging regional metabolism, metabolite distribution, and flow. Thus far, its major applications have been in the study of the brain, and to a lesser extent, the heart; however, it is also finding a role in the study of the liver. Digital angiography is being applied to fluoroscopic systems which permits visualization of relatively low doses of intravascular iodinated radiographic contrast media. Imaging of the major arteries is possible using simple intravenously administered contrast media; digital techniques also increase the diagnostic yield in intraarterial studies. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging is an outgrowth of laboratory NMR spectroscopy; the interaction of radiofrequency signals with nuclei in strong magnetic fields permits imaging the distribution and certain chemical properties of various isotopes. Hydrogen NMR imaging is proving most useful for clinical diagnosis. The techniques used to image hydrogen are also being applied to NMR spectroscopy in vivo of various isotopes, including carbon-13, phosphorus-31, and hydrogen-1.