Contrast Agents in Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Imaging

  • David J. Murphy
  • Raymond Y. KwongEmail author
Part of the Contemporary Cardiology book series (CONCARD)


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a powerful noninvasive cardiovascular imaging modality providing excellent soft tissue contrast. Tissue contrast can be further enhanced by the use of contrast agents, enhancing MRI’s diagnostic capabilities. Paramagnetic metals are ideal MRI contrast agents, with the lanthanide metal gadolinium preeminent in clinical cardiovascular MRI. Gadolinium-based contrast agents (GBCAs) increase image signal intensity by shortening T1 relaxation time, improving image contrast. GBCAs consist of free gadolinium ion, which is attached to a chelator to reduce toxicity. There are currently nine approved GBCAs, which can be categorized as linear or macrocyclic, depending on the chemical structure of the chelate. GBCA administration can be associated with adverse effects such as allergic-like reactions, nephrogenic systemic fibrosis, and neuronal deposition. There are non-gadolinium-based contrast agents with potential cardiovascular MRI applications, such as the iron-based agent ferumoxytol and manganese-based contrast agents.


Magnetic resonance imaging Magnetic resonance angiography Cardiac magnetic resonance Gadolinium Gadolinium-based contrast agents Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis Anaphylaxis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Non-invasive Cardiovascular Imaging, Radiology Division, Department of RadiologyBrigham and Women’s HospitalBostonUSA
  2. 2.Non-invasive Cardiovascular Imaging, Cardiovascular Division, Department of MedicineBrigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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