Magnetic resonance imaging in the evaluation of pneumonia

Der Radiologe. 2006 Jan 5; [Epub ahead of print]. [Link]

R. Eibel1, 3 Contact Information, P. Herzog1, O. Dietrich1, C. Rieger2, H. Ostermann2, M. Reiser1 und S. O. Schoenberg1

  1. Institut für Klinische Radiologie, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München,
  2. Abteilung für Hämatologie/Onkologie, Klinikum Großhadern, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München,
  3. Institut für Klinische Radiologie, Klinikum Innenstadt, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Ziemssenstraße 1, 80336 München


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the lung is challenging because of substantial drawbacks. However, lung pathologies that are associated with increased attenuation values in CT enhance visualization in MRI: proton density is increased and tissue-air interfaces, resulting in susceptibility artifacts, are reduced in pneumonia, pneumonitis, edema, and carcinoma. On the other hand, many lung diseases result in shortness of breath, so that patients cannot hold their breath for long periods. Therefore, fast imaging techniques are required which should also allow for high spatial resolution so that small lesions can be detected. Calcifications and air pockets within lesions are not readily recognized with MRI. Thin section CT is standard for the diagnosis of pneumonia. With parallel imaging techniques, MRI examination of the lungs can be performed with short periods of breath holding, which allow for sub-centimeter resolution in the z-axis. Especially for follow-up examinations in immunocompromised patients and, in some instances, for the staging of malignant diseases (malignant pleural mesothelioma, lung cancer, respectively), MRI is very promising and may contribute to a decrease in the radiation exposure of the patients.