Extra-cardiac findings in cardiovascular magnetic resonance: What the imaging cardiologist needs to know

Jonathan C L Rodrigues, Stephen M. Lyen, William Loughborough, Antonio Matteo Amadu, Anna Baritussio, Amardeep Ghosh Dastidar, Nathan E. Manghat, Chiara Bucciarelli-Ducci*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
464 Downloads (Pure)


Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) is an established non-invasive technique to comprehensively assess cardiovascular structure and function in a variety of acquired and inherited cardiac conditions. A significant amount of the neck, thorax and upper abdomen are imaged at the time of routine clinical CMR, particularly in the initial multi-slice axial and coronal images. The discovery of unsuspected disease at the time of imaging has ethical, financial and medico-legal implications. Extra-cardiac findings at the time of CMR are common, can be important and can change clinical management. Certain patient groups undergoing CMR are at particular risk of important extra-cardiac findings as several of the cardiovascular risk factors for atherosclerosis are also risk factors for malignancy. Furthermore, the presence of certain extra-cardiac findings may contribute to the interpretation of the primary cardiac pathology as some cardiac conditions have multi-systemic extra-cardiac involvement. The aim of this review is to give an overview of the type of extra-cardiac findings that may become apparent on CMR, subdivided by anatomical location. We focus on normal variant anatomy that may mimic disease, common incidental extra-cardiac findings and important imaging signs that help distinguish sinister pathology from benign disease. We also aim to provide a framework to the approach and potential further diagnostic work-up of incidental extra-cardiac findings discovered at the time of CMR. However, it is beyond the scope of this review to discuss and determine the clinical significance of extracardiac findings at CMR.

Original languageEnglish
Article number18
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2016


  • Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance
  • CMR
  • Extra-cardiac findings
  • Extra-cardiac pathology
  • Incidental findings


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