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Kai Vilanova, Head of MRI at the Clinic Girona in Spain, spoke with Mélisande Rouger, editor-in-chief of DI Europe, about the rising demand in cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans at SERAM 2024, the 37th meeting of the Spanish Society of Radiology (SERAM) that took place May 22-25 in Barcelona. 

‘We started with cardiac MRI in 2009 and at that time we were performing no more than five scans per month,’ said Vilanova shortly after a presentation revealed that cardiac MRI scans had increased by over 500% over the last 15 years. ‘Now we are performing about 15 or 20 examinations per week, this is a big change.’

New contrast media that reduce the amount of gadolinium that is necessary to carry out an MRI examination are very much expected in Europe, he added. ‘With less gadolinium, we can obtain the same information,’ he explained. Gadolinium ‘is a drug, it’s not innocuous. We will reduce cost and toxicity, so this is a big, expected project that for sure we will have in a few months.’

Radiologists are increasingly using AI, according to Vilanova, who had just conducted a quick survey among the audience before the interview.  ‘In a simple MSK radiology session, I asked the audience how many were using AI and I was kind of surprised because 45% of the attendants said they were using it,’ he said. 

Experience has showed that the technology offers good results for plain films of the thorax and bone fractures, as well as for automatic reporting.

In MRI, AI reduces examination time and increases resolution. Patients have to ‘spend less time in the MRI, and we have better images, that’s good for the radiologist. It’s great for diagnosis,’ said Vilanova, who started incorporating AI in daily routine eight months ago. 

As President of ESMRMB 2024, he promised there will be more information available when the meeting unfolds in Barcelona next October.