Cardiomyopathies account for a significant portion of morbidity and mortality in patients with heart disease. The diagnosis and identification of the underlying disorder are essential for directing appropriate life-saving therapy. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) is an ideal method for the noninvasive evaluation of cardiomyopathies of unknown etiology. In addition, there is increasing prognostic evidence to support the use of this technology in patient risk stratification. CMR is not limited by anatomic barriers and is able to characterize tissue abnormalities that previously could often be identified only through biopsy. This review discusses the utility of CMR in the assessment of cardiomyopathies, including specific imaging techniques and their application in ischemic and nonischemic settings.
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