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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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 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.
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
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.
Diffuse interstitial or replacement myocardial fibrosis are common features of a broad variety of cardiomyopathies. Myocardial fibrosis leads to impaired cardiac diastolic and systolic function and is related to adverse cardiovascular events. Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) may uniquely characterize the extent of replacement fibrosis and may have prognostic value in various cardiomyopathies. Myocardial T1 mapping is an emerging technique that could improve CMR’s diagnostic accuracy especially for interstitial diffuse myocardial fibrosis. As such, CMR could be integrated in the monitoring and the therapeutic management of a large number of patients. This review summarizes the advantages and limitations of CMR for the assessment of myocardial fibrosis.
Technical advancements have enabled cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging to provide a noninvasive assessment of cardiomyopathy. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging acts as the reference standard for quantifying left and right ventricular function. It also assesses the etiology of cardiomyopathy by demonstrating the presence and size of myocardial scar and by detecting myocardial inflammation and interstitial infiltration. Cardiomyopathy can result in early mortality and arrhythmic risk, and CMR imaging aids in risk stratification among this group of patients. Left ventricular ejection fraction predicts which patients will benefit most from implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs), but this is not a perfect marker of arrhythmic risk. The etiology of cardiomyopathy, as assessed with CMR imaging, adds further prognostic information with infiltrative cardiomyopathies, resulting in higher mortality than idiopathic cardiomyopathies. Among patients with nonischemic cardiomyopathy (NICM), the degree of fibrosis as determined by the CMR imaging sequence of late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) imaging offers further prognostic information. Late gadolinium enhancement imaging in patients with NICM portends an approximately 3- to 8-fold greater risk of death or hospitalization than NICM without LGE imaging. Further research is needed to determine if the presence of LGE will be helpful in predicting which patients may benefit from ICD implantation.
CMR imaging; cardiomyopathy; nonischemic cardiomyopathy; prognosis; late gadolinium enhancement
The aim of this study was to evaluate the extent of epicardial adipose tissue (EAT) and its relationship with left ventricular (LV) parameters assessed by cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) and healthy controls.
EAT is the true visceral fat deposited around the heart which generates various bioactive molecules. Previous studies found that EAT is related to left ventricular mass (LVM) in healthy subjects. Further studies showed a constant EAT to myocardial mass ratio in normal, ischemic and hypertrophied hearts.
CMR was performed in 66 patients with CHF due to ischemic cardiomyopathy (ICM), or dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) and 32 healthy controls. Ventricular volumes, dimensions and LV function were assessed. The amount of EAT was determined volumetrically and expressed as mass indexed to body surface area. Additionally, the EAT/LVM and the EAT/left ventricular remodelling index (LVRI) ratios were calculated.
Patients with CHF had less indexed EAT mass than controls (22 ± 5 g/m2 versus 34 ± 4 g/m2, p < 0.0001). In the subgroup analysis there were no significant differences in indexed EAT mass between patients with ICM and DCM (21 ± 4 g/m2 versus 23 ± 6 g/m2, p = 0.14). Linear regression analysis showed that with increasing LV end-diastolic diameter (LV-EDD) (r = 0.42, p = 0.0004) and LV end-diastolic mass (LV-EDM) (r = 0.59, p < 0.0001), there was a significantly increased amount of EAT in patients with CHF. However, the ratio of EAT mass/LV-EDM was significantly reduced in patients with CHF compared to healthy controls (0.54 ± 0.1 versus 0.21 ± 0.1, p < 0.0001). In CHF patients higher indexed EAT/LVRI-ratios in CHF patients correlated best with a reduced LV-EF (r = 0.49, p < 0.0001).
Patients with CHF revealed significantly reduced amounts of EAT. An increase in LVM is significantly related to an increase in EAT in both patients with CHF and controls. However, different from previous reports the EAT/LVEDM-ratio in patients with CHF was significantly reduced compared to healthy controls. Furthermore, the LV function correlated best with the indexed EAT/LVRI ratio in CHF patients. Metabolic abnormalities and/or anatomic alterations due to disturbed cardiac function and geometry seem to play a key role and are a possible explanation for these findings.
Late gadolinium enhancement is the technique of choice for detecting myocardial fibrosis. Although this technique is used in a wide range of cardiovascular pathologies, ischemic cardiomyopathy and the workup for myocarditis and other cardiomyopathies make up a significant proportion of the total indications. Multiple studies during the last decade have demonstrated its utility to adequately characterize myocardial tissue and offer diagnostic and prognostic information. Recent T1 mapping techniques aim to overcome the limitations of late gadolinium enhancement to assess diffuse fibrosis. 19F magnetic resonance has recently emerged as a promising technique for the assessment of inflammation. In the following review we will discuss the basic aspects of fibrosis assessment with MR and its utility for diagnostic and prognostic evaluation. We will also address the topic of cardiovascular inflammation imaging with 19F as a potential new development that may broaden the indications for MR in the future.
Desmin-related myopathy (DRM) is known to cause different types of cardiomyopathy. Late gadolinium enhancement cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) has been shown to identify fibrosis in ischemic and non-ischemic cardiomyopathies. We present a rare case of desmin-related hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, CMR revealed fibrosis in the lateral wall of the left ventricle. CMR is superior to conventional echocardiography for the detection of myocardial fibrosis in desmin-related cardiomyopathy, which may be useful to detect early cardiac involvement and predict the patient prognosis.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) using T2-weighted sequences can visualize myocardial edema. When compared to previous protocols, newer pulse sequences with substantially improved image quality have increased its clinical utility. The assessment of myocardial edema provides useful incremental diagnostic and prognostic information in a variety of clinical settings associated with acute myocardial injury. In patients with acute chest pain, T2-weighted CMR is able to identify acute or recent myocardial ischemic injury and has been employed to distinguish acute coronary syndrome (ACS) from non-ACS as well as acute from chronic myocardial infarction.
T2-weighted CMR can also be used to determine the area at risk in reperfused and non-reperfused infarction. When combined with contrast-enhanced imaging, the salvaged area and thus the success of early coronary revascularization can be quantified. Strong evidence for the prognostic value of myocardial salvage has enabled its use as a primary endpoint in clinical trials. The present article reviews the current evidence and clinical applications for T2-weighted CMR in acute cardiac disease and gives an outlook on future developments.
"The principle of all things is water"
Thales of Miletus (624 BC - 546 BC)
The purpose of this paper is to describe imaging techniques and findings of T2-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of edema in myocardial diseases. T2-weighted cardiac MRI is acquired by combining acceleration techniques with motion and signal suppression techniques. The MRI findings should be interpreted based on coronary artery supply, intramural distribution, and comparison with delayed-enhancement MRI. In acute myocardial diseases, such as acute myocardial infarction and myocarditis, the edema is larger than myocardial scarring, whereas the edema can be smaller than the scarring in some types of nonischemic cardiomyopathy, including hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. T2-weighted MRI of edema identifies myocardial edema associated with ischemia, inflammation, vasculitis, or intervention in the myocardium and provides information complementary to delayed-enhancement MRI.
Cardiomyopathy is an almost universal finding in boys affected by Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Myocardial changes, as a result of the lack of dystrophin, consist of cell membrane degradation, interstitial inflammation, fatty replacement and fibrosis.
Dystrophinopathic cardiomyopathy generally starts as a preclinical or intermediate stage, with evolution toward advanced stages characterized by ventricle enlargement but also by symptoms and signs of heart failure (dyspnoea, peripheral edema and liver enlargement). However in few patients the dilation could be the first manifestation of the heart involvement.
The ability to detect overt cardiomyopathy increases with age, such that more than 80% of boys older than 18 years will have abnormal systolic function.
Several drugs have been employed with the aim to contrast the evolution of cardiomyopathy toward stages of severe congestive heart failure. A review of cardiac treatment in DMD and personal experience are reported and discussed.
Dystrophinopathic cardiomyopathy; deflazacort; ACE-inhibitors
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.
Objective—To assess the prevalence and significance of enteroviral genome within myocardial biopsy specimens taken from patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy and from controls.
Design—Prospective evaluation of myocardial tissue for the presence of an enteroviral genome by the polymerase chain reaction.
Setting—A tertiary referral centre for patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy.
Patients—Tissue for the study came from 50 consecutive patients with dilated cardiomyopathy, 41 with other forms of heart disease and 34 from coroners' necropsy cases.
Results—Enteroviral genome was detected in 6/50 (12%) patients with dilated cardiomyopathy and 13/75 (17%) of the controls (not significant). No differences were seen between dilated cardiomyopathy patients with or without myocardial enteroviral genome in respect of age; duration of symptoms; proportion of patients with a premorbid acute viral illness, excess alcohol consumption, or hypertension; New York Heart Association functional class; measures of left ventricular function; or endomyocardial histology. Within the control group enteroviral genome was detected in 3/15 (20%) patients with ischaemic heart disease, 2/19 (10·5%) with valvar heart disease, 1/5 (20%) with specific heart muscle disease, 0/2 (0%) with congenital heart disease, and 7/34 (20·6%) cases of sudden death. During 2–52 month follow up (mean 22) 15/44 (34%) patients without myocardial enteroviral genome and 2/6 (33%) with myocardial enteroviral genome died suddenly or required orthotopic heart transplantation for progressive heart failure.
Conclusions—These findings do not support the hypothesis that persistent enteroviral infection is of pathogenic or prognostic importance in dilated cardiomyopathy but they are consistent with enterovirus being a common environmental pathogen.
T2w-CMR is used widely to assess myocardial edema. Quantitative T1-mapping is also sensitive to changes in free water content. We hypothesized that T1-mapping would have a higher diagnostic performance in detecting acute edema than dark-blood and bright-blood T2w-CMR.
We investigated 21 controls (55 ± 13 years) and 21 patients (61 ± 10 years) with Takotsubo cardiomyopathy or acute regional myocardial edema without infarction. CMR performed within 7 days included cine, T1-mapping using ShMOLLI, dark-blood T2-STIR, bright-blood ACUT2E and LGE imaging. We analyzed wall motion, myocardial T1 values and T2 signal intensity (SI) ratio relative to both skeletal muscle and remote myocardium.
All patients had acute cardiac symptoms, increased Troponin I (0.15-36.80 ug/L) and acute wall motion abnormalities but no LGE. T1 was increased in patient segments with abnormal and normal wall motion compared to controls (1113 ± 94 ms, 1029 ± 59 ms and 944 ± 17 ms, respectively; p < 0.001). T2 SI ratio using STIR and ACUT2E was also increased in patient segments with abnormal and normal wall motion compared to controls (all p < 0.02). Receiver operator characteristics analysis showed that T1-mapping had a significantly larger area-under-the-curve (AUC = 0.94) compared to T2-weighted methods, whether the reference ROI was skeletal muscle or remote myocardium (AUC = 0.58-0.89; p < 0.03). A T1 value of greater than 990 ms most optimally differentiated segments affected by edema from normal segments at 1.5 T, with a sensitivity and specificity of 92 %.
Non-contrast T1-mapping using ShMOLLI is a novel method for objectively detecting myocardial edema with a high diagnostic performance. T1-mapping may serve as a complementary technique to T2-weighted imaging for assessing myocardial edema in ischemic and non-ischemic heart disease, such as quantifying area-at-risk and diagnosing myocarditis.
T1-mapping; ShMOLLI; Myocardial edema; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; T2-weighted MRI
Post-contrast T1 mapping by modified Look-Locker inversion recovery (MOLLI) sequence has been introduced as a promising means to assess an expansion of the extra-cellular space. However, T1 value in the myocardium can be affected by scanning time after bolus contrast injection. In this study, we investigated the changes of the T1 values according to multiple slicing over scanning time at 15 minutes after contrast injection and usefulness of blood T1 correction.
Eighteen reperfused acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients, 13 cardiomyopathy patients and 8 healthy volunteers underwent cardiovascular magnetic resonance with 15 minute-post contrast MOLLI to generate T1 maps. In 10 cardiomyopathy cases, pre- and post-contrast MOLLI techniques were performed to generate extracellular volume fraction (Ve). Six slices of T1 maps according to the left ventricular (LV) short axis, from apex to base, were consecutively obtained. Each T1 value was measured in the whole myocardium, infarcted myocardium, non-infarcted myocardium and LV blood cavity.
The mean T1 value of infarcted myocardium was significantly lower than that of non-infarcted myocardium (425.4±68.1 ms vs. 540.5±88.0 ms, respectively, p< 0.001). T1 values of non-infarcted myocardium increased significantly from apex to base (from 523.1±99.5 ms to 561.1±81.1 ms, p=0.001), and were accompanied by a similar increase in blood T1 value in LV cavity (from 442.1±120.7 ms to 456.8±97.5 ms, p<0.001) over time. This phenomenon was applied to both left anterior descending (LAD) territory (from 545.1±74.5 ms to 575.7±84.0 ms, p<0.001) and non-LAD territory AMI cases (from 501.2±124.5 ms to 549.5±81.3 ms, p<0.001). It was similarly applied to cardiomyopathy patients and healthy volunteers. After the myocardial T1 values, however, were adjusted by the blood T1 values, they were consistent throughout the slices from apex to base (from 1.17±0.18 to 1.25±0.13, p>0.05). The Ve did not show significant differences from apical to basal slices.
Post-contrast myocardial T1 corrected by blood T1 or Ve, provide more stable measurement of degree of fibrosis in non-infarcted myocardium in short- axis multiple slicing.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; T1 mapping; Myocardium
Myocardial edema is a substantial feature of the inflammatory response in human myocarditis. The relation between myocardial edema and myocardial mass in the course of healing myocarditis has not been systematically investigated. We hypothesised that the resolution of myocardial edema as visualised by T2-weighted cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) is associated with a decrease of myocardial mass in steady state free precession (SSFP)-cine imaging.
21 patients with acute myocarditis underwent CMR shortly after onset of symptoms and 1 year later. For visualization of edema, a T2-weighted breath-hold black-blood triple-inversion fast spin echo technique was applied and the ratio of signal intensity of myocardium/skeletal muscle was assessed. Left ventricular (LV) mass, volumes and function were quantified from biplane cine steady state free precession images.
11 healthy volunteers served as a control group for interstudy reproducibility of LV mass.
In patients with myocarditis, a significant decrease in LV mass was observed during follow-up compared to the acute phase (156.7 ± 30.6 g vs. 140.3 ± 28.3 g, p < 0.0001). The reduction of LV mass paralleled the normalization of initially increased myocardial signal intensity on T2-weighted images (2.4 ± 0.4 vs. 1.68 ± 0.3, p < 0.0001).
In controls, the interstudy difference of LV mass was lower than in patients (5.1 ± 2.9 g vs. 16.3 ± 14.2 g, p = 0.02) resulting in a lower coefficient of variability (2.1 vs 8.9%, p = 0.04).
Reversible abnormalities in T2-weighted CMR are paralleled by a transient increase in left ventricular mass during the course of myocarditis. Myocardial edema may be a common pathway explaining these findings.
Over the last 15 years, advances in magnetic resonance imaging techniques have increased the accuracy and applicability of cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging. These advances have improved the utility of magnetic resonance imaging in evaluating cardiac morphology, blood flow, and myocardial contractility, all significant diagnostic features in the evaluation of the patient with acquired heart disease. Utilization of cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging has been limited, primarily due to clinical reliance upon nuclear scintigraphy and echocardiography. Recent developments in fast and ultrafast imaging should continue to enhance the significance of magnetic resonance imaging in this field. Widespread use of magnetic resonance imaging in the evaluation of the cardiovascular system will ultimately depend upon its maturation into a comprehensive, noninvasive imaging technique for the varying manifestations of acquired heart disease, including cardiomyopathy, ischemic heart disease, and acquired valvular disease.
Magnetic resonance imaging and multidetector computed tomography are new imaging methods that have much to offer clinicians caring for patients with dilated cardiomyopathy. In this article we briefly describe the clinical, pathophysiological and histological aspects of dilated cardiomyopathy. Then we discuss in detail the use of both imaging methods for measurement of chamber size, global and regional function, for myocardial tissue characterisation, including myocardial viability assessment, and determination of arrhythmogenic substrate, and their emerging role in cardiac resynchronisation therapy.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s13244-011-0101-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Dilated cardiomyopathy; Magnetic resonance imaging; MRI; Multidetector computed tomography; MDCT