Pulmonary vein morphology by free-breathing whole heart magnetic resonance imaging at 3 tesla versus breathhold multi-detector computed tomography




To compare pulmonary vein and left atrial anatomy using three-dimensional free-breathing whole-heart magnetic resonance imaging (MR) at 3 Tesla (T) and multi-detector computed tomography (MDCT).

Materials and Methods:

Thirty-three subjects (19 male, age 49 ± 12 years) underwent free-breathing 3T MR and contrast-enhanced MDCT during inspiratory breath hold. Pulmonary vein parameters (ostial areas, diameters, angles) were measured.


All pulmonary veins and anomalies were identified by 3T MR and by MDCT. The right-sided pulmonary veins were directed more posteriorly, the right superior pulmonary vein more inferiorly, and the right inferior pulmonary vein more superiorly by 3T MR when compared with MDCT. The cross-sectional area, perimeters and minimum diameters of right-sided pulmonary vein ostia were significantly larger by MR, as were the maximum diameters of right and left inferior pulmonary veins. There were no significant differences between techniques in distance to first pulmonary vein branch.


Pulmonary vein measurements demonstrated significant differences in angulations and dimensions when 3T MR is compared with MDCT. These differences likely represent hemodynamic and respiratory variation during free-breathing with MR versus breath-holding with MDCT. MR imaging at 3T during free-breathing offers an alternate method to define pulmonary vein and left atrial anatomy without exposure to radiation. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2013;37:846–852. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.