Role of MRI in the evaluation of thoracoabdominal emergencies

Daniel R. Ludwig, Constantine A. Raptis, Jordi Broncano, Sanjeev Bhalla, Antonio Luna

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Thoracic and abdominal pathology are common in the emergency setting. Although computed tomography is preferred in many clinical situations, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) have emerged as powerful techniques that often play a complementary role to computed tomography or may have a primary role in selected patient populations in which radiation is of specific concern or intravenous iodinated contrast is contraindicated. This review will highlight the role of MRI and MRA in the emergent imaging of thoracoabdominal pathology, specifically covering acute aortic pathology (acute aortic syndrome, aortic aneurysm, and aortitis), pulmonary embolism, gastrointestinal conditions such as appendicitis and Crohn disease, pancreatic and hepatobiliary disease (pancreatitis, choledocholithiasis, cholecystitis, and liver abscess), and genitourinary pathology (urolithiasis and pyelonephritis). In each section, we will highlight the specific role for MRI, discuss basic imaging protocols, and illustrate the MRI features of commonly encountered thoracoabdominal pathology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)355-370
Number of pages16
JournalTopics in Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Acute aortic syndrome
  • American College of Radiology appropriateness criteria
  • Appendicitis
  • Magnetic resonance angiography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Pulmonary embolism


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