[Postoperative results and follow-up of thoracic aortic diseases using magnetic resonance tomography].
Operations of the thoracic aorta for aneurysms, dissections, or congenital malformations may lead to early or late complications. Therefore, postoperative control for documentation of the surgical results, for exclusion of early changes and for comparison with later controls is mandatory. To demonstrate that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), which we already had used with good results for preoperative studies is also able to detect postoperative abnormalities, we examined 30 patients with thoracic aortic disease (20 male, 10 female, mean age 53 +/- 13.7 years) with this diagnostic tool. There were 19 arteriosclerotic aneurysms, 10 dissections, and one aortic tumor. With MRI it was possible in all patients to visualize the results of the surgical treatment postoperatively. Early postoperative complications could be excluded, or demonstrated in one case of a retrograde aortic dissection or a hematopericardium. These pathological findings could also be shown by arterial digital subtraction angiography or echocardiography. Using MRI for follow-up of aortic dissections, the development of an aneurysm of the aortic root in a Marfan-patient could be detected. In all these patients, it was possible to differentiate true and false lumen and to detect the origin of major side branches. The diagnostic advantages of MRI, which we compared with other imaging methods, as echocardiography, computed tomography or angiography are that postoperative complications of thoracic aortic aneurysm surgery can be reliably detected and visualized in 3 different planes. Non-invasiveness, the omission of ionizing radiation and no risk of contrast media application underline that magnetical resonance imaging is an ideal method for follow-up after operation of the thoracic aorta.