Magnetic resonance imaging at a high field strength has potential benefits for the study of the heart in infants, which is when most congenital heart disease presents. Seventeen infants with various anatomical types of ventricular septal defect were studied by this technique. Good quality, high resolution, images were obtained in every case. There were no major practical problems. The morphology of the defects in all 17 hearts was displayed in great detail. In some instances, the interpretation of the images resembled that of equivalent images from cross sectional echocardiography. But this new technique allowed imaging in planes that cannot be obtained by echocardiography. One particularly valuable plane gave a face on view of the inlet and trabecular components of the septum. This allowed very precise localisation of defects in these areas. The relation between the defects and the atrioventricular and arterial valves was exceptionally well shown in various different imaging planes. One patient in the series had multiple trabecular defects that were clearly shown. Magnetic resonance imaging gives detailed morphological information about ventricular septal defects.
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