Diffuse myocardial fibrosis, and to a lesser extent global myocardial edema, are important processes in heart disease which are difficult to assess or quantify with cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) using conventional late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) or T1-mapping. Measurement of the myocardial extracellular volume fraction (ECV) circumvents factors that confound T1-weighted images or T1-maps. We hypothesized that quantitative assessment of myocardial ECV would be clinically useful for detecting both focal and diffuse myocardial abnormalities in a variety of common and uncommon heart diseases.
A total of 156 subjects were imaged including 62 with normal findings, 33 patients with chronic myocardial infarction (MI), 33 with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), 15 with non-ischemic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), 7 with acute myocarditis, 4 with cardiac amyloidosis, and 2 with systemic capillary leak syndrome (SCLS). Motion corrected ECV maps were generated automatically from T1-maps acquired pre- and post-contrast calibrated by blood hematocrit. Abnormally-elevated ECV was defined as >2SD from the mean ECV in individuals with normal findings. In HCM the size of regions of LGE was quantified as the region >2 SD from remote.
Mean ECV of 62 normal individuals was 25.4 ± 2.5% (m ± SD), normal range 20.4%-30.4%. Mean ECV within the core of chronic myocardial infarctions (without MVO) (N = 33) measured 68.5 ± 8.6% (p < 0.001 vs normal). In HCM, the extent of abnormally elevated ECV correlated to the extent of LGE (r = 0.72, p < 0.001) but had a systematically greater extent by ECV (mean difference 19 ± 7% of slice). Abnormally elevated ECV was identified in 4 of 16 patients with non-ischemic DCM (38.1 ± 1.9% (p < 0.001 vs normal) and LGE in the same slice appeared “normal” in 2 of these 4 patients. Mean ECV values in other disease entities ranged 32-60% for cardiac amyloidosis (N = 4), 40-41% for systemic capillary leak syndrome (N = 2), and 39-56% within abnormal regions affected by myocarditis (N = 7).
ECV mapping appears promising to complement LGE imaging in cases of more homogenously diffuse disease. The ability to display ECV maps in units that are physiologically intuitive and may be interpreted on an absolute scale offers the potential for detection of diffuse disease and measurement of the extent and severity of abnormal regions.
Fibrosis; Edema; Gadolinium; Myocardial infarction; Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Dilated cardiomyopathy; Myocarditis; Systemic capillary leak syndrome
Quantitative Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) techniques have gained high interest in CMR research. Myocardial T2 mapping is thought to be helpful in diagnosis of acute myocardial conditions associated with myocardial edema. In this study we aimed to establish a technique for myocardial T2 mapping based on gradient-spin-echo (GraSE) imaging.
The local ethics committee approved this prospective study. Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects prior to CMR. A modified GraSE sequence allowing for myocardial T2 mapping in a single breath-hold per slice using ECG-triggered acquisition of a black blood multi-echo series was developed at 1.5 Tesla. Myocardial T2 relaxation time (T2-RT) was determined by maximum likelihood estimation from magnitude phased-array multi-echo data. Four GraSE sequence variants with varying number of acquired echoes and resolution were evaluated in-vitro and in 20 healthy volunteers. Inter-study reproducibility was assessed in a subset of five volunteers. The sequence with the best overall performance was further evaluated by assessment of intra- and inter-observer agreement in all volunteers, and then implemented into the clinical CMR protocol of five patients with acute myocardial injury (myocarditis, takotsubo cardiomyopathy and myocardial infarction).
In-vitro studies revealed the need for well defined sequence settings to obtain accurate T2-RT measurements with GraSE. An optimized 6-echo GraSE sequence yielded an excellent agreement with the gold standard Carr-Purcell-Meiboom-Gill sequence. Global myocardial T2 relaxation times in healthy volunteers was 52.2 ± 2.0 ms (mean ± standard deviation). Mean difference between repeated examinations (n = 5) was −0.02 ms with 95% limits of agreement (LoA) of [−4.7; 4.7] ms. Intra-reader and inter-reader agreement was excellent with mean differences of −0.1 ms, 95% LoA = [−1.3; 1.2] ms and 0.1 ms, 95% LoA = [−1.5; 1.6] ms, respectively (n = 20). In patients with acute myocardial injury global myocardial T2-RTs were prolonged (mean: 61.3 ± 6.7 ms).
Using an optimized GraSE sequence CMR allows for robust, reliable, fast myocardial T2 mapping and quantitative tissue characterization. Clinically, the GraSE-based T2-mapping has the potential to complement qualitative CMR in patients with acute myocardial injuries.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12968-015-0127-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; T2 mapping; Phantom study; Quantitative MRI; Gradient-spin-echo imaging
Limb girdle muscular dystrophies (LGMD) are inclusive of 7 autosomal dominant and 14 autosomal recessive disorders featuring progressive muscle weakness and atrophy. Studies of cardiac function have not yet been well-defined in deficiencies of dysferlin (LGMD2B) and fukutin related protein (LGMD2I). In this study of patients with these two forms of limb girdle muscular dystrophy, cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) was used to more specifically define markers of cardiomyopathy including systolic dysfunction, myocardial fibrosis, and diastolic dysfunction.
Consecutive patients with genetically-proven LGMD types 2I (n = 7) and 2B (n = 9) and 8 control subjects were enrolled. All subjects underwent cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) on a standard 1.5 Tesla clinical scanner with cine imaging for left ventricular (LV) volume and ejection fraction (EF) measurement, vector velocity analysis of cine data to calculate myocardial strain, and late post-gadolinium enhancement imaging (LGE) to assess for myocardial fibrosis.
Sixteen LGMD patients (7 LGMD2I, 9 LGMD2B), and 8 control subjects completed CMR. All but one patient had normal LV size and systolic function; one (type 2I) had severe dilated cardiomyopathy. Of 15 LGMD patients with normal systolic function, LGE imaging revealed focal myocardial fibrosis in 7 (47%). Peak systolic circumferential strain rates were similar in patients vs. controls: εendo was -23.8 ± 8.5vs. -23.9 ± 4.2%, εepi was -11.5 ± 1.7% vs. -10.1 ± 4.2% (p = NS for all). Five of 7 LGE-positive patients had grade I diastolic dysfunction [2I (n = 2), 2B (n = 3)]. that was not present in any LGE-negative patients or controls.
LGMD2I and LGMD2B generally result in mild structural and functional cardiac abnormalities, though severe dilated cardiomyopathy may occur. Long-term studies are warranted to evaluate the prognostic significance of subclinical fibrosis detected by CMR in these patients.
Myocardial systolic strain patterns in dilated cardiomyopathy are felt to be nonhomogeneous but have not been investigated with MRI-based multiparametric systolic strain analysis. Left ventricular (LV) three-dimensional (3D) multiparametric systolic strain analysis is sensitive to regional contractility and is generated from sequential magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of tissue tagging gridline point displacements.
Sixty normal human volunteers underwent MRI-based 3D systolic strain analysis to supply normal average and standard deviation values for each of three strain parameters at each of 15,300 individual LV grid points. Patient-specific multiparametric systolic strain data from each dilated cardiomyopathy patient (n = 10) were then subjected to a point-by-point comparison (n = 15,300 LV points) to the normal strain database for 3 individual strain components (45,900 database comparisons per patient). The resulting composite multiparametric Z-score values (standard deviation from normal average) were color contour mapped over patient-specific 3D LV geometry to detect the normalized regional contractile patterns associated with dilated cardiomyopathy.
Average multiparametric strain Z-score values varied significantly according to ventricular level (p = 0.001) and region (p = 0.003). Apical Z-scores were significantly less than those in both the base (p = 0.037) and mid-ventricle (p = 0.002), while anterolateral wall Z-scores were less than those in the anteroseptal (p = 0.023) and posteroseptal walls (p = 0.028).
MRI-based multiparametric systolic strain analysis suggests that myocardial systolic strain in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy has a heterogeneous regional distribution and on average falls almost two standard deviations from normal.
The short inversion time inversion recovery (STIR) black-blood technique has been used to visualize myocardial edema, and thus to differentiate acute from chronic myocardial lesions. However, some cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) groups have reported variable image quality, and hence the diagnostic value of STIR in routine clinical practice has been put into question. The aim of our study was to analyze image quality and diagnostic performance of STIR using a set of pulse sequence parameters dedicated to edema detection, and to discuss possible factors that influence image quality. We hypothesized that STIR imaging is an accurate and robust way of detecting myocardial edema in non-selected patients with acute myocardial infarction.
Forty-six consecutive patients with acute myocardial infarction underwent CMR (day 4.5, +/- 1.6) including STIR for the assessment of myocardial edema and late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) for quantification of myocardial necrosis. Thirty of these patients underwent a follow-up CMR at approximately six months (195 +/- 39 days). Both STIR and LGE images were evaluated separately on a segmental basis for image quality as well as for presence and extent of myocardial hyper-intensity, with both visual and semi-quantitative (threshold-based) analysis. LGE was used as a reference standard for localization and extent of myocardial necrosis (acute) or scar (chronic).
Image quality of STIR images was rated as diagnostic in 99.5% of cases. At the acute stage, the sensitivity and specificity of STIR to detect infarcted segments on visual assessment was 95% and 78% respectively, and on semi-quantitative assessment was 99% and 83%, respectively. STIR differentiated acutely from chronically infarcted segments with a sensitivity of 95% by both methods and with a specificity of 99% by visual assessment and 97% by semi-quantitative assessment. The extent of hyper-intense areas on acute STIR images was 85% larger than those on LGE images, with a larger myocardial salvage index in reperfused than in non-reperfused infarcts (p = 0.035).
STIR with appropriate pulse sequence settings is accurate in detecting acute myocardial infarction (MI) and distinguishing acute from chronic MI with both visual and semi-quantitative analysis. Due to its unique technical characteristics, STIR should be regarded as an edema-weighted rather than a purely T2-weighted technique.
The aim of the study was to test the reproducibility and variability of myocardial T2 mapping in relation to sequence type and spatial orientation in a large group of healthy volunteers. For control T2 mapping was also applied in patients with true edema. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) T2-mapping has potential for the detection and quantification of myocardial edema. Clinical experience is limited so far. The variability and potential pitfalls in broad application are unknown.
Healthy volunteers (n = 73, 35 ± 13 years) and patients with edema (n = 28, 55 ± 17 years) underwent CMR at 1.5 T. Steady state free precession (SSFP) cine loops and T2-weighted spin echo images were obtained. In patients, additionally late gadolinium enhancement images were acquired. We obtained T2 maps in midventricular short axis (SAX) and four-chamber view (4CV) based on images with T2 preparation times of 0, 24, 55 ms and compared fast low angle shot (FLASH) and SSFP readout. 10 volunteers were scanned twice on separate days. Two observers analysed segmental and global T2 per slice.
In volunteers global myocardial T2 systematically differed depending on image orientation and sequence (FLASH 52 ± 5 vs. SSFP 55 ± 5 ms in SAX and 57 ± 6 vs. 59 ± 6 ms in 4CV; p < 0.0001 for both). Anteroseptal and apical segments had higher T2 than inferior and basal segments (SAX: 59 ± 6 vs. 48 ± 5 ms for FLASH and 59 ± 7 vs. 52 ± 4 ms for SSFP; p < 0.0001 for both). 14 volunteers had segments with T2 ≥ 70 ms. Mean intraobserver variability was 1.07 ± 1.03 ms (r = 0.94); interobserver variability was 1.6 ± 1.5 ms (r = 0.87). The coefficient of variation for repeated scans was 7.6% for SAX and 6.6% for 4CV. Mapping revealed focally increased T2 (73 ± 9 vs. 51 ± 3 ms in remote myocardium; p < 0.0001) in all patients with edema.
Myocardial T2 mapping is technically feasible and highly reproducible. It can detect focal edema und differentiate it from normal myocardium. Increased T2 was found in some volunteers most likely due to partial volume and residual motion.
Chronically increased intestinal iron uptake in genetic hemochromatosis (HC) may cause organ failure. Whilst iron loading from blood transfusions may cause dilated cardiomyopathy in conditions such as thalassemia, the in-vivo prevalence of myocardial siderosis in HC is unclear, and its relation to left ventricular (LV) dysfunction is controversial. Most previous data on myocardial siderosis in HC has come from post-mortem studies.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) was performed at first presentation of 41 HC patients (58.9 ±14.1 years) to measure myocardial iron and left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction (EF).
In 31 patients (genetically confirmed HFE-HC), the HFE genotype was C282Y/C282Y (n = 30) and C282Y/H63D (n = 1). Patients with other genotypes (n = 10) were labeled genetically unconfirmed HC. Of the genetically confirmed HFE-HC patients, 6 (19%) had myocardial siderosis (T2* <20 ms). Of these, 5 (83%) had heart failure and reduced LVEF which was correlated to the severity of siderosis (R2 0.57, p = 0.049). Two patients had follow-up scans and both had marked improvements in T2* and LVEF following venesection. Myocardial siderosis was present in 6/18 (33%) of patients with presenting ferritin ≥1000 μg/L at diagnosis but in 0/13 (0%) patients with ferritin <1000 μg/L (p = 0.028). Overall however, the relation between myocardial siderosis and ferritin was weak (R2 0.20, p = 0.011). In the 10 genetically unconfirmed HC patients, 1 patient had mild myocardial siderosis but normal EF. Of all 31 patients, 4 had low LVEF from other identifiable causes without myocardial siderosis.
Myocardial siderosis was present in 33% of newly presenting genetically confirmed HFE-HC patients with ferritin >1000 μg/L, and was the commonest cause of reduced LVEF. Heart failure due to myocardial siderosis was only found in these HFE-HC patients, and was reversible with venesection. Myocardial iron was normal in patients with other causes of LV dysfunction.
Iron overload; Heart; Hemochromatosis; Cardiomyopathy; Heart failure; Magnetic resonance
To analyse the value of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR)-derived myocardial parameters to differentiate left ventricular non-compaction cardiomyopathy (LVNC) from other cardiomyopathies and controls.
We retrospectively analysed 12 patients with LVNC, 11 with dilated and 10 with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and compared them to 24 controls. LVNC patients had to fulfil standard echocardiographic criteria as well as additional clinical and imaging criteria. Cine steady-state free precession and late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) imaging was performed. The total LV myocardial mass index (LV-MMI), compacted (LV-MMIcompacted), non-compacted (LV-MMInon-compacted), percentage LV-MMnon-compacted, ventricular volumes and function were calculated. Data were compared using analysis of variance and Dunnett’s test. Additionally, semi-quantitative segmental analyses of the occurrence of increased trabeculation were performed.
Total LV-MMInon-compacted and percentage LV-MMnon-compacted were discriminators between patients with LVCN, healthy controls and those with other cardiomyopathies with cut-offs of 15 g/m2 and 25 %, respectively. Furthermore, trabeculation in basal segments and a ratio of non-compacted/compacted myocardium of ≥3:1 were criteria for LVNC. A combination of these criteria provided sensitivities and specificities of up to 100 %. None of the LVNC patients demonstrated LGE.
Absolute CMR quantification of the LV-MMInon-compacted or the percentage LV-MMnon-compacted and increased trabeculation in basal segments allows one to reliably diagnose LVNC and to differentiate it from other cardiomyopathies.
• Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging can reliably diagnose left ventricular non-compaction cardiomyopathy.
• Differentiation of LVNC from other cardiomyopathies and normal hearts is possible.
• The best diagnostic performance can be achieved if combined MRI criteria for the diagnosis are used.
Isolated non-compaction of the ventricular myocardium; Magnetic resonance imaging; Ventricular dysfunction, left; Cardiomyopathies
The presence of myocardial fibrosis is associated with worse clinical outcomes in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) with late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) sequences can detect regional, but not diffuse myocardial fibrosis. Post-contrast T1 mapping is an emerging CMR technique that may enable the non-invasive evaluation of diffuse myocardial fibrosis in HCM. The purpose of this study was to non-invasively detect and quantify diffuse myocardial fibrosis in HCM with CMR and examine its relationship to diastolic performance.
We performed CMR on 76 patients - 51 with asymmetric septal hypertrophy due to HCM and 25 healthy controls. Left ventricular (LV) morphology, function and distribution of regional myocardial fibrosis were evaluated with cine imaging and LGE. A CMR T1 mapping sequence determined the post-contrast myocardial T1 time as an index of diffuse myocardial fibrosis. Diastolic function was assessed by transthoracic echocardiography.
Regional myocardial fibrosis was observed in 84% of the HCM group. Post-contrast myocardial T1 time was significantly shorter in patients with HCM compared to controls, consistent with diffuse myocardial fibrosis (498 ± 80 ms vs. 561 ± 47 ms, p < 0.001). In HCM patients, post-contrast myocardial T1 time correlated with mean E/e’ (r = −0.48, p < 0.001).
Patients with HCM have shorter post-contrast myocardial T1 times, consistent with diffuse myocardial fibrosis, which correlate with estimated LV filling pressure, suggesting a mechanistic link between diffuse myocardial fibrosis and abnormal diastolic function in HCM.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Magnetic resonance imaging; Myocardial fibrosis; T1 mapping
Myocardial pathologies are major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Early detection of loss of cellular integrity and expansion in extracellular volume (ECV) in myocardium is critical to initiate effective treatment. The three compartments in healthy myocardium are: intravascular (approximately 10% of tissue volume), interstitium (approximately 15%) and intracellular (approximately 75%). Myocardial cells, fibroblasts and vascular endothelial/smooth muscle cells represent intracellular compartment and the main proteins in the interstitium are types I/III collagens. Microscopic studies have shown that expansion of ECV is an important feature of diffuse physiologic fibrosis (e.g., aging and obesity) and pathologic fibrosis [heart failure, aortic valve disease, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, myocarditis, dilated cardiomyopathy, amyloidosis, congenital heart disease, aortic stenosis, restrictive cardiomyopathy (hypereosinophilic and idiopathic types), arrythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia and hypertension]. This review addresses recent advances in measuring of ECV in ischemic and non-ischemic myocardial pathologies. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has the ability to characterize tissue proton relaxation times (T1, T2, and T2*). Proton relaxation times reflect the physical and chemical environments of water protons in myocardium. Delayed contrast enhanced-MRI (DE-MRI) and multi-detector computed tomography (DE-MDCT) demonstrated hyper-enhanced infarct, hypo-enhanced microvascular obstruction zone and moderately enhanced peri-infarct zone, but are limited for visualizing diffuse fibrosis and patchy microinfarct despite the increase in ECV. ECV can be measured on equilibrium contrast enhanced MRI/MDCT and MRI longitudinal relaxation time mapping. Equilibrium contrast enhanced MRI/MDCT and MRI T1 mapping is currently used, but at a lower scale, as an alternative to invasive sub-endomyocardial biopsies to eliminate the need for anesthesia, coronary catheterization and possibility of tissue sampling error. Similar to delayed contrast enhancement, equilibrium contrast enhanced MRI/MDCT and T1 mapping is completely noninvasive and may play a specialized role in diagnosis of subclinical and other myocardial pathologies. DE-MRI and when T1-mapping demonstrated sub-epicardium, sub-endocardial and patchy mid-myocardial enhancement in myocarditis, Behcet’s disease and sarcoidosis, respectively. Furthermore, recent studies showed that the combined technique of cine, T2-weighted and DE-MRI technique has high diagnostic accuracy for detecting myocarditis. When the tomographic techniques are coupled with myocardial perfusion and left ventricular function they can provide valuable information on the progression of myocardial pathologies and effectiveness of new therapies.
Myocardial viability; Ischemic/non-ischemic heart diseases; Magnetic resonance imaging; Multi-detector computed tomography; Cellular compartments; Contrast media
Starting as a research method little more than a decade ago, cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging has rapidly evolved to become a powerful diagnostic tool used in routine clinical cardiology. The contrast in CMR images is generated from protons in different chemical environments and, therefore, enables high-resolution imaging and specific tissue characterization in vivo, without the use of potentially harmful ionizing radiation.
CMR imaging is used for the assessment of regional and global ventricular function, and to answer questions regarding anatomy. State-of-the-art CMR sequences allow for a wide range of tissue characterization approaches, including the identification and quantification of nonviable, edematous, inflamed, infiltrated or hypoperfused myocardium. These tissue changes are not only used to help identify the etiology of cardiomyopathies, but also allow for a better understanding of tissue pathology in vivo. CMR tissue characterization may also be used to stage a disease process; for example, elevated T2 signal is consistent with edema and helps differentiate acute from chronic myocardial injury, and the extent of myocardial fibrosis as imaged by contrast-enhanced CMR correlates with adverse patient outcome in ischemic and nonischemic cardiomyopathies.
The current role of CMR imaging in clinical cardiology is reviewed, including coronary artery disease, congenital heart disease, nonischemic cardiomyopathies and valvular disease.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Clinical cardiology; Congenital heart disease; Diagnosis; Imaging
The purpose of this study was to identify early features of lamin A/C gene mutation related dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) with cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR). We characterise myocardial and functional findings in carriers of lamin A/C mutation to facilitate the recognition of these patients using this method. We also investigated the connection between myocardial fibrosis and conduction abnormalities.
Seventeen lamin A/C mutation carriers underwent CMR. Late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) and cine images were performed to evaluate myocardial fibrosis, regional wall motion, longitudinal myocardial function, global function and volumetry of both ventricles. The location, pattern and extent of enhancement in the left ventricle (LV) myocardium were visually estimated.
Patients had LV myocardial fibrosis in 88% of cases. Segmental wall motion abnormalities correlated strongly with the degree of enhancement. Myocardial enhancement was associated with conduction abnormalities. Sixty-nine percent of our asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic patients showed mild ventricular dilatation, systolic failure or both in global ventricular analysis. Decreased longitudinal systolic LV function was observed in 53% of patients.
Cardiac conduction abnormalities, mildly dilated LV and depressed systolic dysfunction are common in DCM caused by a lamin A/C gene mutation. However, other cardiac diseases may produce similar symptoms. CMR is an accurate tool to determine the typical cardiac involvement in lamin A/C cardiomyopathy and may help to initiate early treatment in this malignant familiar form of DCM.
Acute myocarditis can be diagnosed on cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) using multiple techniques, including late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) imaging, which requires contrast administration. Native T1-mapping is significantly more sensitive than LGE and conventional T2-weighted (T2W) imaging in detecting myocarditis. The aims of this study were to demonstrate how to display the non-ischemic patterns of injury and to quantify myocardial involvement in acute myocarditis without the need for contrast agents, using topographic T1-maps and incremental T1 thresholds.
We studied 60 patients with suspected acute myocarditis (median 3 days from presentation) and 50 controls using CMR (1.5 T), including: (1) dark-blood T2W imaging; >(2) native T1-mapping (ShMOLLI); (3) LGE. Analysis included: (1) global myocardial T2 signal intensity (SI) ratio compared to skeletal muscle; (2) myocardial T1 times; (3) areas of injury by T2W, T1-mapping and LGE.
Compared to controls, patients had more edema (global myocardial T2 SI ratio 1.71 ± 0.27 vs.1.56 ± 0.15), higher mean myocardial T1 (1011 ± 64 ms vs. 946 ± 23 ms) and more areas of injury as detected by T2W (median 5% vs. 0%), T1 (median 32% vs. 0.7%) and LGE (median 11% vs. 0%); all p < 0.001. A threshold of T1 > 990 ms (sensitivity 90%, specificity 88%) detected significantly larger areas of involvement than T2W and LGE imaging in patients, and additional areas of injury when T2W and LGE were negative. T1-mapping significantly improved the diagnostic confidence in an additional 30% of cases when at least one of the conventional methods (T2W, LGE) failed to identify any areas of abnormality. Using incremental thresholds, T1-mapping can display the non-ischemic patterns of injury typical of myocarditis.
Native T1-mapping can display the typical non-ischemic patterns in acute myocarditis, similar to LGE imaging but without the need for contrast agents. In addition, T1-mapping offers significant incremental diagnostic value, detecting additional areas of myocardial involvement beyond T2W and LGE imaging and identified extra cases when these conventional methods failed to identify abnormalities. In the future, it may be possible to perform gadolinium-free CMR using cine and T1-mapping for tissue characterization and may be particularly useful for patients in whom gadolinium contrast is contraindicated.
Native T1-mapping; ShMOLLI; Myocarditis; T2-weighted MRI; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Late gadolinium enhancement
Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (MD1) is a neuromuscular disorder with potential involvement of the heart and increased risk of sudden death. Considering the importance of cardiomyopathy as a predictor of prognosis, we aimed to systematically evaluate and describe structural and functional cardiac alterations in patients with MD1.
Eighty MD1 patients underwent physical examination, electrocardiography (ECG), echocardiography and cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR). Blood samples were taken for determination of NT-proBNP plasma levels and CTG repeat length.
Functional and structural abnormalities were detected in 35 patients (44%). Left ventricular systolic dysfunction was found in 20 cases, left ventricular dilatation in 7 patients, and left ventricular hypertrophy in 6 patients. Myocardial fibrosis was seen in 10 patients (12.5%). In general, patients had low left ventricular mass indexes. Right ventricular involvement was uncommon and only seen together with left ventricular abnormalities. Functional or structural cardiac involvement was associated with age (p = 0.04), male gender (p < 0.001) and abnormal ECG (p < 0.001). Disease duration, CTG repeat length, severity of neuromuscular symptoms and NT-proBNP level did not predict the presence of myocardial abnormalities.
CMR can be useful to detect early structural and functional myocardial abnormalities in patients with MD1. Myocardial involvement is strongly associated with conduction abnormalities, but a normal ECG does not exclude myocardial alterations. These findings lend support to the hypothesis that MD1 patients have a complex cardiac phenotype, including both myocardial and conduction system alteration.
Myotonic dystrophy; Cardiomyopathy; Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging; Endomyocardial fibrosis
Isolated noncompaction of the left ventricle (LV) is a rare disorder, classified as a primary genetic cardiomyopathy by the American Heart Association. The European Society of Cardiology Working Group on Myocardial and Pericardial Diseases classified LV noncompaction as an unclassified cardiomyopathy. LV noncompaction cardiomyopathy characterized by the following features: 1) an altered myocardial wall with prominent trabeculae and deep intertrabecular recesses resulting in thickened myocardium with two layers, consisting of compacted and noncompacted myocardium and 2) continuity between the left ventricular cavity and the deep intertrabecular recesses, which are filled with blood from the ventricular cavity, without evidence of communication with the epicardial coronary artery system. Features of LV noncompaction can overlap with dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (especially the apical variant), and restrictive cardiomyopathy. The phenotypic expression can vary considerably within the same family. The LV noncompaction can rarely occur as a transient phenomenon during myocarditis.
We present the case of a 23-year-old patient, admitted to our Department for cardiac evaluation because of ECG changes and cardiac enlargement revealed at thoracic radiography. She had a history of chronic toxoplasmosis. An echocardiography was performed revealing left ventricular enlargement with severe systolic and diastolic dysfunction, diffuse hypokinesia and signs of isolated left ventricular non-compaction. Under these circumstances, we have considered the presence of isolated left ventricular non-compaction. A cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging was performed and it sustained the diagnosis. The alternative cause of isolated left ventricular noncompaction (prominent trabeculation due to myocardial toxoplasmosis) was considered improbable.
cardiomyopathy; noncompaction; trabeculae; toxoplasmosis
Becker-Kiener muscular dystrophy (BMD) represents an X-linked genetic disease associated with myocardial involvement potentially resulting in dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Early diagnosis of cardiac involvement may permit earlier institution of heart failure treatment and extend life span in these patients. Both echocardiography and nuclear imaging methods are capable of detecting later stages of cardiac involvement characterised by wall motion abnormalities. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) has the potential to detect cardiac involvement by depicting early scar formation that may appear before onset of wall motion abnormalities.
In a prospective two-center-study, 15 male patients with BMD (median age 37 years; range 11 years to 56 years) underwent comprehensive neurological and cardiac evaluations including physical examination, echocardiography and CMR. A 16-segment model was applied for evaluation of regional wall motion abnormalities (rWMA). The CMR study included late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) imaging with quantification of myocardial damage.
Abnormal echocardiographic results were found in eight of 15 (53.3%) patients with all of them demonstrating reduced left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and rWMA. CMR revealed abnormal findings in 12 of 15 (80.0%) patients (p = 0.04) with 10 (66.6%) having reduced LVEF (p = 0.16) and 9 (64.3%) demonstrating rWMA (p = 0.38). Myocardial damage as assessed by LGE-imaging was detected in 11 of 15 (73.3%) patients with a median myocardial damage extent of 13.0% (range 0 to 38.0%), an age-related increase and a typical subepicardial distribution pattern in the inferolateral wall. Ten patients (66.7%) were in need of medical heart failure therapy based on CMR results. However, only 4 patients (26.7%) were already taking medication based on clinical criteria (p = 0.009).
Cardiac involvement in patients with BMD is underdiagnosed by echocardiographic methods resulting in undertreatment of heart failure. The degree and severity of cardiac involvement in this population is best characterised when state-of-the-art CMR methods are applied. Further studies need to demonstrate whether earlier diagnosis and institution of heart failure therapy will extend the life span of these patients.
Chronic Chagas disease cardiomyopathy (CCC) is an inflammatory dilated cardiomyopathy with a worse prognosis than other cardiomyopathies. CCC occurs in 30 % of individuals infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, endemic in Latin America. Heart failure is associated with impaired energy metabolism, which may be correlated to contractile dysfunction. We thus analyzed the myocardial gene and protein expression, as well as activity, of key mitochondrial enzymes related to ATP production, in myocardial samples of end-stage CCC, idiopathic dilated (IDC) and ischemic (IC) cardiomyopathies.
Myocardium homogenates from CCC (N = 5), IC (N = 5) and IDC (N = 5) patients, as well as from heart donors (N = 5) were analyzed for protein and mRNA expression of mitochondrial creatine kinase (CKMit) and muscular creatine kinase (CKM) and ATP synthase subunits aplha and beta by immunoblotting and by real-time RT-PCR. Total myocardial CK activity was also assessed. Protein levels of CKM and CK activity were reduced in all three cardiomyopathy groups. However, total CK activity, as well as ATP synthase alpha chain protein levels, were significantly lower in CCC samples than IC and IDC samples. CCC myocardium displayed selective reduction of protein levels and activity of enzymes crucial for maintaining cytoplasmic ATP levels.
The selective impairment of the CK system may be associated to the loss of inotropic reserve observed in CCC. Reduction of ATP synthase alpha levels is consistent with a decrease in myocardial ATP generation through oxidative phosphorylation. Together, these results suggest that the energetic deficit is more intense in the myocardium of CCC patients than in the other tested dilated cardiomyopathies.
Chronic Chagas disease cardiomyopathy (CCC) affects millions in endemic areas and is presenting in growing numbers in the USA and European countries due to migration currents. Clinical progression, length of survival and overall prognosis are significantly worse in CCC patients when compared to patients with dilated cardiomyopathy of non-inflammatory etiology. Impairment of energy metabolism seems to play a role in heart failure due to cardiomyopathies. Herein, we have analyzed energy metabolism enzymes in myocardium samples of CCC patients comparing to other non-inflammatory cardiomyopathies. We found that myocardial tissue from CCC patients displays a significant reduction of both myocardial protein levels of ATP synthase alpha and creatine kinase enzyme activity, in comparison to control heart samples, as well as idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy and ischemic cardiomyopathy. Our results suggest that CCC myocardium displays a selective energetic deficit, which may play a role in the reduced heart function observed in such patients.
T2-Weighted (T2W) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) pulse sequences have been used to detect edema in patients with acute myocardial infarction and differentiate acute from chronic infarction. T2W sequences have suffered from several problems including (i) signal intensity variability caused by phased array coils, (ii) high signal from slow moving ventricular chamber blood that can mimic and mask elevated T2 in sub-endocardial myocardium, (iii) motion artifacts, and (iv) the subjective nature of T2W image interpretation. In this work we demonstrate the advantages of a quantitative T2 mapping technique to accurately and reliably detect regions of edematous myocardial tissue without the limitations of qualitative T2W imaging.
Methods of T2 mapping were evaluated on phantoms; the best of these protocols was then optimized for in vivo imaging. The optimized protocol was used to study the spatial, view-dependent, and inter-subject variability and motion sensitivity in healthy subjects. Using the insights gained from this, the utility of T2 mapping was demonstrated in a porcine model of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and in three patients with AMI.
T2-prepared SSFP demonstrated greater accuracy in estimating the T2 of phantoms than multi-echo turbo spin echo. The T2 of human myocardium was found to be 52.18 ± 3.4 ms (range: 48.96 ms to 55.67 ms), with variability between subjects unrelated to heart rate. Unlike T2W images, T2 maps did not show any signal variation due to the variable sensitivity of phased array coils and were insensitive to cardiac motion. In the three pigs and three patients with AMI, the T2 of the infarcted region was significantly higher than that of remote myocardium.
Quantitative T2 mapping addresses the well-known problems associated with T2W imaging of the heart and offers the potential for increased accuracy in the detection of myocardial edema.
Myocarditis is an acute or chronic inflammatory disease of the myocardium which can be viral, postinfectious immune or primarily organ-specific autoimmune. Clinical manifestations of acute and chronic myocarditis are extremely varied, ranging from mild to severe. Affected patients may recover or develop (dilated) cardiomyopathy (DCM) with life-threatening symptoms including heart failure, conduction disturbances, arrhythmias, cardiogenic shock or sudden cardiac death.
The diagnosis of myocarditis is a challenging process and not only because of a diverse presentation; other problems are limited sensitivity of endomyocardial biopsies (EMB) and overlapping symptoms. Furthermore, the diagnosis is not well defined. However, early diagnosis is mandatory to address specific aetiology-directed therapeutic management in myocarditis that influences patient morbidity and mortality.
Currently, EMB remains the only way to confirm the presence of a viral genome and other histopathological findings allowing proper treatment to be implemented in cases of myocarditis. Increased recognition of the role of myocardial inflammatory changes has given rise to interest in noninvasive imaging as a diagnostic tool, especially cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (CMR). In this review we discuss the current role of CMR in the evaluation of myocarditis-induced inflammatory cardiomyopathies. (Neth Heart J 2009;17:481-6.)
myocarditis; cardiac magnetic resonance imaging; cardiomyopathy
Detection of cardiac fibrosis based on endogenous magnetic resonance (MR) characteristics of the myocardium would yield a measurement that can provide quantitative information, is independent of contrast agent concentration, renal function and timing. In ex vivo myocardial infarction (MI) tissue, it has been shown that a significantly higher T1ρ is found in the MI region, and studies in animal models of chronic MI showed the first in vivo evidence for the ability to detect myocardial fibrosis with native T1ρ-mapping. In this study we aimed to translate and validate T1ρ-mapping for endogenous detection of chronic MI in patients.
We first performed a study in a porcine animal model of chronic MI to validate the implementation of T1ρ-mapping on a clinical cardiovascular MR scanner and studied the correlation with histology. Subsequently a clinical protocol was developed, to assess the feasibility of scar tissue detection with native T1ρ-mapping in patients (n = 21) with chronic MI, and correlated with gold standard late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) CMR. Four T1ρ-weighted images were acquired using a spin-lock preparation pulse with varying duration (0, 13, 27, 45 ms) and an amplitude of 750 Hz, and a T1ρ-map was calculated. The resulting T1ρ-maps and LGE images were scored qualitatively for the presence and extent of myocardial scarring using the 17-segment AHA model.
In the animal model (n = 9) a significantly higher T1ρ relaxation time was found in the infarct region (61 ± 11 ms), compared to healthy remote myocardium (36 ± 4 ms) . In patients a higher T1ρ relaxation time (79 ± 11 ms) was found in the infarct region than in remote myocardium (54 ± 6 ms). Overlap in the scoring of scar tissue on LGE images and T1ρ-maps was 74%.
We have shown the feasibility of native T1ρ-mapping for detection of infarct area in patients with a chronic myocardial infarction. In the near future, improvements on the T1ρ -mapping sequence could provide a higher sensitivity and specificity. This endogenous method could be an alternative for LGE imaging, and provide additional quantitative information on myocardial tissue characteristics.
Heart; Fibrosis; Heart failure; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Endogenous contrast; T1ρ-mapping; T1-mapping; MOLLI; Spin-lock; Native contrast
The right ventricle (RV) has been defined as the “forgotten chamber”, as its role in cardiac physiopathology has long been underestimated. Nevertheless, the RV is involved in a wide range of pathological conditions and its altered function may significantly affect the patient’s clinical status.
A selection of the most common cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) features in a spectrum of pathological conditions is illustrated. Although its complex morphology, thin myocardium and trabeculated apex, RV can be accurately imaged by CMR, revealing its involvement in ischaemic and non-ischaemic heart disease. CMR has emerged as the pre-eminent modality in monitoring ventricular performance in congenital heart disease, pulmonary hypertension and cardiomyopathies. Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy is a difficult diagnosis and the recently revised task force criteria confirmed a crucial role of CMR to increase diagnostic accuracy, by combining detection of RV dilation, regional wall motion and structural abnormalities. Moreover, a multiparametric approach of CMR is often necessary for delineation and characterisation of cardiac masses.
CMR, combining assessment of morphology, structure and function, has definitively emerged as the reference technique to evaluate a large variety of RV diseases.
• CMR offers unique advantages for imaging of many RV congenital, ischaemic and non-ischaemic diseases.
• Because of high reproducibility, CMR has a crucial role in decision-making for chronic RV pathology.
• The use of CMR increases detection of RV disease as infarction or arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13244-013-0222-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Right ventricle; Ischaemic heart disease; Non-ischaemic cardiomyopathy; Congenital heart disease
Becker muscular dystrophy is a rare cause of dilated cardiomyopathy. A case of Becker muscular dystrophy is reviewed in which cardiovascular magnetic resonance showed previously unreported findings of extensive mid-myocardial late gadolinium enhancement. Similar detection of late gadolinium enhancement in conjunction with other uses of cardiovascular magnetic resonance may contribute significantly to the diagnosis and management of patients with this unusual and important diagnosis.
Becker muscular dystrophy; cardiomyopathy; dystrophy; gadolinium; imaging
In acute myocardial infarction (AMI), both tissue necrosis and edema are present and both might be implicated in the development of intraventricular dyssynchrony. However, their relative contribution to transient dyssynchrony is not known. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) can detect necrosis and edema with high spatial resolution and it can quantify dyssynchrony by tagging techniques.
Patients with a first AMI underwent percutaneous coronary interventions (PCI) of the infarct-related artery within 24 h of onset of chest pain. Within 5–7 days after the event and at 4 months, CMR was performed. The CMR protocol included the evaluation of intraventricular dyssynchrony by applying a novel 3D-tagging sequence to the left ventricle (LV) yielding the CURE index (circumferential uniformity ratio estimate; 1 = complete synchrony). On T2-weighted images, edema was measured as high-signal (>2 SD above remote tissue) along the LV mid-myocardial circumference on 3 short-axis images (% of circumference corresponding to the area-at-risk). In analogy, on late-gadolinium enhancement (LGE) images, necrosis was quantified manually as percentage of LV mid-myocardial circumference on 3 short-axis images. Necrosis was also quantified on LGE images covering the entire LV (expressed as %LV mass). Finally, salvaged myocardium was calculated as the area-at-risk minus necrosis (expressed as % of LV circumference).
After successful PCI (n = 22, 2 female, mean age: 57 ± 12y), peak troponin T was 20 ± 36ug/l and the LV ejection fraction on CMR was 41 ± 8%. Necrosis mass was 30 ± 10% and CURE was 0.91 ± 0.05. Edema was measured as 58 ± 14% of the LV circumference. In the acute phase, the extent of edema correlated with dyssynchrony (r2 = −0.63, p < 0.01), while extent of necrosis showed borderline correlation (r2 = −0.19, p = 0.05). PCI resulted in salvaged myocardium of 27 ± 14%. LV dyssynchrony (=CURE) decreased at 4 months from 0.91 ± 0.05 to 0.94 ± 0.03 (p < 0.004, paired t-test). At 4 months, edema was absent and scar %LV slightly shrunk to 23.7 ± 10.0% (p < 0.002 vs baseline). Regression of LV dyssynchrony during the 4 months follow-up period was predicted by both, the extent of edema and its necrosis component in the acute phase.
In the acute phase of infarction, LV dyssynchrony is closely related to the extent of edema, while necrosis is a poor predictor of acute LV dyssynchrony. Conversely, regression of intraventricular LV dyssynchrony during infarct healing is predicted by the extent of necrosis in the acute phase.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Tagging; Myocardial infarction; Dyssynchrony
Advances in cardiovascular imaging increasingly afford unique insights into heritable myocardial disease. As clinical presentation of genetic cardiomyopathies may range from nonspecific symptoms to sudden cardiac death, accurate diagnosis has implications for individual patients as well as related family members. The initial consideration of genetic cardiomyopathy may occur in the imaging laboratory, where one must recognize the patient with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) among the many with ventricular arrhythmia referred to define myocardial substrate. Accurate diagnosis of the patient presenting with dyspnea and palpitations whose first-degree relatives have lamin A/C cardiomyopathy may warrant genetic testing1, 2 plus imaging of diastolic function and myocardial fibrosis3. As advances in cardiac imaging afford detection of subclinical structural and functional changes, the imaging specialist must be attuned to signatures of specific genetic disorders. With increased availability of both advanced imaging as well as genotyping techniques, this review seeks to provide cardiovascular imaging specialists and clinicians with the contemporary information needed for more precise diagnosis and treatment of heritable myocardial disease. A companion paper in this series covers imaging phenotype and genotype considerations in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). This review details clinical features, imaging phenotype and current genetic understanding for two of the most common non-HCM conditions that prompt myocardial imaging - dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). While all modalities are considered herein, considerable focus is given to CMR with its unique capabilities for myocardial tissue characterization.
imaging; cardiomyopathy; genetics
Dilated cardiomyopathy is myocardial disease characterized by dilatation and impaired contraction of the left ventricle or both left and right ventricle. The majority of these cases are secondary to coronary artery disease, hypertension and valvular cardiomyopathy. Patients diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy are further clinically evaluated for evidence of familial history of the disease. Those families have shown to have genetic predisposition to dilated cardiomyopathy; thus, currently there is no available single genetic test that allows comprehensive testing of all causative genes. We report a Kuwaiti case of dilated cardiomyopathy that was diagnosed at young age. The patient clinical presentation pointed out to the fact that this was a familial disease. This case is the first reported in Kuwait clinically presented with familial dilated cardiomyopathy implying a genetic susceptibility factor to be further investigated within the at-risk family members.
23-year-old Arab ethnicity Kuwaiti male with strong family history of dilated cardiomyopathy was admitted witnessed with sudden cardiac death. The patient presented with sudden arrhythmic death and survived with permanent anoxic brain injury. Transthoracic echocardiography revealed dilated cardiomyopathy with severe global left ventricular systolic dysfunction. After thorough investigation, the patient shown to have strong family history of dilated cardiomyopathy.
Familial dilated cardiomyopathy is poorly documented in Kuwait. We present this case with future plan to study the genetic map of his family.
Cardiomyopathies; Familial dilated cardiomyopathy; Sudden arrhythmic death