Updated on 10 September 2012
The MRI and X-ray catheterizations were successful in 15 of the 16 participants. One patient had required the use of a wire to help guide the catheter under X-ray, and currently no guidewires are available that work under an MRI.
The average procedure time for the two approaches was comparable - about 20 minutes. The team expected the MRI-guided procedure to take much longer because an MRI-compatible catheter can be harder to see in an MRI-generated image than a conventional steel catheter can be in an X-ray-generated image.
"Developing safe and conspicuous catheter devices for MRI is the chief obstacle to overcome before this approach can be widely applied at hospitals," said study lead Dr Robert J Lederman, a senior investigator in the NHLBI's Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Branch. "But with improved tools and further improvement of the procedure, real-time MRI catheterization may become a realistic option for many people."