Qualitative and quantitative assessment of renal blood flow is valuable in the evaluation of patients with renal and renovascular diseases as well as in patients with heart failure. The temporal pattern of renal flow velocity through the cardiac cycle provides important information about renal haemodynamics. High temporal resolution interleaved spiral phase velocity mapping could potentially be used to study temporal patterns of flow and measure resistive and pulsatility indices which are measures of downstream resistance.
A retrospectively gated breath-hold spiral phase velocity mapping sequence (TR 19 ms) was developed at 3 Tesla. Phase velocity maps were acquired in the proximal right and left arteries of 10 healthy subjects in each of two separate scanning sessions. Each acquisition was analysed by two independent observers who calculated the resistive index (RI), the pulsatility index (PI), the mean flow velocity and the renal artery blood flow (RABF). Inter-study and inter-observer reproducibility of each variable was determined as the mean +/− standard deviation of the differences between paired values. The effect of background phase errors on each parameter was investigated.
RI, PI, mean velocity and RABF per kidney were 0.71+/− 0.06, 1.47 +/− 0.29, 253.5 +/− 65.2 mm/s and 413 +/− 122 ml/min respectively. The inter-study reproducibilities were: RI −0.00 +/− 0.04 , PI −0.03 +/− 0.17, mean velocity −6.7 +/− 31.1 mm/s and RABF per kidney 17.9 +/− 44.8 ml/min. The effect of background phase errors was negligible (<2% for each parameter).
High temporal resolution breath-hold spiral phase velocity mapping allows reproducible assessment of renal pulsatility indices and RABF.
Spiral; Phase velocity mapping; Renal blood flow; Resistive index; Pulsatility index; Reproducibility
Cardiac diffusion tensor imaging (cDTI) measures the magnitudes and directions of intramyocardial water diffusion. Assuming the cross-myocyte components to be constrained by the laminar microstructures of myocardium, we hypothesized that cDTI at two cardiac phases might identify any abnormalities of laminar orientation and mobility in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).
We performed cDTI in vivo at 3 Tesla at end-systole and late diastole in 11 healthy controls and 11 patients with HCM, as well as late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) for detection of regional fibrosis.
Voxel-wise analysis of diffusion tensors relative to left ventricular coordinates showed expected transmural changes of myocardial helix-angle, with no significant differences between phases or between HCM and control groups. In controls, the angle of the second eigenvector of diffusion (E2A) relative to the local wall tangent plane was larger in systole than diastole, in accord with previously reported changes of laminar orientation. HCM hearts showed higher than normal global E2A in systole (63.9° vs 56.4° controls, p = 0.026) and markedly raised E2A in diastole (46.8° vs 24.0° controls, p < 0.001). In hypertrophic regions, E2A retained a high, systole-like angulation even in diastole, independent of LGE, while regions of normal wall thickness did not (LGE present 57.8°, p = 0.0028, LGE absent 54.8°, p = 0.0022 vs normal thickness 38.1°).
In healthy controls, the angles of cross-myocyte components of diffusion were consistent with previously reported transmural orientations of laminar microstructures and their changes with contraction. In HCM, especially in hypertrophic regions, they were consistent with hypercontraction in systole and failure of relaxation in diastole. Further investigation of this finding is required as previously postulated effects of strain might be a confounding factor.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12968-014-0087-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Diffusion tensor imaging; Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Myocardial architecture; Laminar structure; Sheet and shear layers; Diastolic dysfunction
The assessment of myocardial iron using T2* cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) has been validated and calibrated, and is in clinical use. However, there is very limited data assessing the relaxation parameters T1 and T2 for measurement of human myocardial iron.
Twelve hearts were examined from transfusion-dependent patients: 11 with end-stage heart failure, either following death (n = 7) or cardiac transplantation (n = 4), and 1 heart from a patient who died from a stroke with no cardiac iron loading. Ex-vivo R1 and R2 measurements (R1 = 1/T1 and R2 = 1/T2) at 1.5 Tesla were compared with myocardial iron concentration measured using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy.
From a single myocardial slice in formalin which was repeatedly examined, a modest decrease in T2 was observed with time, from mean (±SD) 23.7 ± 0.93 ms at baseline (13 days after death and formalin fixation) to 18.5 ± 1.41 ms at day 566 (p < 0.001). Raw T2 values were therefore adjusted to correct for this fall over time. Myocardial R2 was correlated with iron concentration [Fe] (R2 0.566, p < 0.001), but the correlation was stronger between LnR2 and Ln[Fe] (R2 0.790, p < 0.001). The relation was [Fe] = 5081•(T2)-2.22 between T2 (ms) and myocardial iron (mg/g dry weight). Analysis of T1 proved challenging with a dichotomous distribution of T1, with very short T1 (mean 72.3 ± 25.8 ms) that was independent of iron concentration in all hearts stored in formalin for greater than 12 months. In the remaining hearts stored for <10 weeks prior to scanning, LnR1 and iron concentration were correlated but with marked scatter (R2 0.517, p < 0.001). A linear relationship was present between T1 and T2 in the hearts stored for a short period (R2 0.657, p < 0.001).
Myocardial T2 correlates well with myocardial iron concentration, which raises the possibility that T2 may provide additive information to T2* for patients with myocardial siderosis. However, ex-vivo T1 measurements are less reliable due to the severe chemical effects of formalin on T1 shortening, and therefore T1 calibration may only be practical from in-vivo human studies.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Heart; Iron overload; Siderosis; Thalassaemia
Diffusion tensor cardiac magnetic resonance (DT-CMR) enables probing of the microarchitecture of the myocardium, but the apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) reported in healthy volunteers have been inconsistent. The aim of this study was to validate a stimulated-echo diffusion sequence using phantoms, and to assess the intercentre reproducibility of in-vivo diffusion measures using the sequence.
Methods and results
A stimulated-echo, cardiac-gated DT-CMR sequence with a reduced-field-of-view, single-shot EPI readout was used at two centres with 3 T MRI scanners. Four alkane phantoms with known diffusivities were scanned at a single centre using a stimulated echo sequence and a spin-echo Stejskal-Tanner diffusion sequence. The median (maximum, minimum) difference between the DT-CMR sequence and Stejskal-Tanner sequence was 0.01 (0.04, 0.0006) × 10-3 mm2/s (2%), and between the DT-CMR sequence and literature diffusivities was 0.02 (0.05, 0.006) × 10-3 mm2/s (4%).
The same ten healthy volunteers were scanned using the DT-CMR sequence at the two centres less than seven days apart. Average ADC and FA were calculated in a single mid-ventricular, short axis slice. Intercentre differences were tested for statistical significance at the p < 0.05 level using paired t-tests. The mean ADC ± standard deviation for all subjects averaged over both centres was 1.10 ± 0.06 × 10-3 mm2/s in systole and 1.20 ± 0.09 × 10-3 mm2/s in diastole; FA was 0.41 ± 0.04 in systole and 0.54 ± 0.03 in diastole. With similarly-drawn regions-of-interest, systolic ADC (difference 0.05 × 10-3 mm2/s), systolic FA (difference 0.003) and diastolic FA (difference 0.01) were not statistically significantly different between centres (p > 0.05), and only the diastolic ADC showed a statistically significant, but numerically small, difference of 0.07 × 10-3 mm2/s (p = 0.047). The intercentre, intrasubject coefficients of variance were: systolic ADC 7%, FA 6%; diastolic ADC 7%, FA 3%.
This is the first study to demonstrate the accuracy of a stimulated-echo DT-CMR sequence in phantoms, and demonstrates the feasibility of obtaining reproducible ADC and FA in healthy volunteers at separate centres with well-matched sequences and processing.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Cardiac diffusion tensor imaging; Cardiac diffusion weighted imaging
There were 90 articles published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (JCMR) in 2012, which is an 8% increase in the number of articles since 2011. The quality of the submissions continues to increase. The editors are delighted to report that the 2011 JCMR Impact Factor (which is published in June 2012) has risen to 4.44, up from 3.72 for 2010 (as published in June 2011), a 20% increase. The 2011 impact factor means that the JCMR papers that were published in 2009 and 2010 were cited on average 4.44 times in 2011. The impact factor undergoes natural variation according to citation rates of papers in the 2 years following publication, and is significantly influenced by highly cited papers such as official reports. However, the progress of the journal's impact over the last 5 years has been impressive. Our acceptance rate is approximately 25%, and has been falling as the number of articles being submitted has been increasing. In accordance with Open-Access publishing, the JCMR articles go on-line as they are accepted with no collating of the articles into sections or special thematic issues. For this reason, the Editors have felt that it is useful once per calendar year to summarize the papers for the readership into broad areas of interest or theme, so that areas of interest can be reviewed in a single article in relation to each other and other recent JCMR articles. The papers are presented in broad themes and set in context with related literature and previously published JCMR papers to guide continuity of thought in the journal. We hope that you find the open-access system increases wider reading and citation of your papers, and that you will continue to send your quality manuscripts to JCMR for publication.
The multitude of applications offered by CMR make it an increasing popular modality to study the heart and the surrounding vessels. Nevertheless the anatomical complexity of the chest, together with cardiac and respiratory motion, and the fast flowing blood, present many challenges which can possibly translate into imaging artefacts. The literature is wide in terms of papers describing specific MR artefacts in great technical detail. In this review we attempt to summarise, in a language accessible to a clinical readership, some of the most common artefacts found in CMR applications. It begins with an introduction of the most common pulse sequences, and imaging techniques, followed by a brief section on typical cardiovascular applications. This leads to the main section on common CMR artefacts with examples, a short description of the mechanisms behind them, and possible solutions.
Myocardial disarray is an important histological feature of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) which has been studied post-mortem, but its in-vivo prevalence and extent is unknown. Cardiac Diffusion Tensor Imaging (cDTI) provides information on mean intravoxel myocyte orientation and potentially myocardial disarray. Recent technical advances have improved in-vivo cDTI, and the aim of this study was to assess the interstudy reproducibility of quantitative in-vivo cDTI in patients with HCM.
Methods and results
A stimulated-echo single-shot-EPI sequence with zonal excitation and parallel imaging was implemented. Ten patients with HCM were each scanned on 2 different days. For each scan 3 short axis mid-ventricular slices were acquired with cDTI at end systole. Fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), and helix angle (HA) maps were created using a cDTI post-processing platform developed in-house. The mean ± SD global FA was 0.613 ± 0.044, MD was 0.750 ± 0.154 × 10-3 mm2/s and HA was epicardium −34.3 ± 7.6°, mesocardium 3.5 ± 6.9° and endocardium 38.9 ± 8.1°. Comparison of initial and repeat studies showed global interstudy reproducibility for FA (SD = ± 0.045, Coefficient of Variation (CoV) = 7.2%), MD (SD = ± 0.135 × 10-3 mm2/s, CoV = 18.6%) and HA (epicardium SD = ± 4.8°; mesocardium SD = ± 3.4°; endocardium SD = ± 2.9°). Reproducibility of FA was superior to MD (p = 0.003). Global MD was significantly higher in the septum than the reference lateral wall (0.784 ± 0.188 vs 0.750 ± 0.154 x10-3 mm2/s, p < 0.001). Septal HA was significantly lower than the reference lateral wall in all 3 transmural layers (from −8.3° to −10.4°, all p < 0.001).
To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to assess the interstudy reproducibility of DTI in the human HCM heart in-vivo and the largest cDTI study in HCM to date. Our results show good reproducibility of FA, MD and HA which indicates that current technology yields robust in-vivo measurements that have potential clinical value. The interpretation of regional differences in the septum requires further investigation.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Diffusion tensor imaging; Diffusion weighted imaging; Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Disarray
There were 83 articles published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (JCMR) in 2011, which is an 11% increase in the number of articles since 2010. The quality of the submissions continues to increase. The editors had been delighted with the 2010 JCMR Impact Factor of 4.33, although this fell modestly to 3.72 for 2011. The impact factor undergoes natural variation according to citation rates of papers in the 2 years following publication, and is significantly influenced by highly cited papers such as official reports. However, we remain very pleased with the progress of the journal's impact over the last 5 years. Our acceptance rate is approximately 25%, and has been falling as the number of articles being submitted has been increasing. In accordance with Open-Access publishing, the JCMR articles go on-line as they are accepted with no collating of the articles into sections or special thematic issues. For this reason, the Editors feel it is useful to summarize the papers for the readership into broad areas of interest or theme, which we feel would be useful, so that areas of interest from the previous year can be reviewed in a single article in relation to each other and other recent JCMR articles . The papers are presented in broad themes and set in context with related literature and previously published JCMR papers to guide continuity of thought in the journal. We hope that you find the open-access system increases wider reading and citation of your papers, and that you will continue to send your quality manuscripts to JCMR for publication.
Phase-contrast velocity images often contain a background or baseline offset error, which adds an unknown offset to the measured velocities. For accurate flow measurements, this offset must be shown negligible or corrected. Some correction techniques depend on replicating the clinical flow acquisition using a uniform stationary phantom, in order to measure the baseline offset at the region of interest and subtract it from the clinical study. Such techniques assume that the background offset is stable over the time of a patient scan, or even longer if the phantom scans are acquired later, or derived from pre-stored background correction images. There is no published evidence regarding temporal stability of the background offset.
This study assessed the temporal stability of the background offset on 3 different manufacturers’ scanners over 8 weeks, using a retrospectively-gated phase-contrast cine acquisition with fixed parameters and at a fixed location, repeated 5 times in rapid succession each week. A significant offset was defined as 0.6 cm/s within 50 mm of isocenter, based upon an accuracy of 10% in a typical cardiac shunt measurement.
Over the 5 repeated cine acquisitions, temporal drift in the baseline offset was insignificant on two machines (0.3 cm/s, 0.2 cm/s), and marginally insignificant on the third machine (0.5 cm/s) due to an apparent heating effect. Over a longer timescale of 8 weeks, insignificant drift (0.4 cm/s) occurred on one, with larger drifts (0.9 cm/s, 0.6 cm/s) on the other machines.
During a typical patient study, background drift was insignificant. Extended high gradient power scanning with work requires care to avoid drift on some machines. Over the longer term of 8 weeks, significant drift is likely, preventing accurate correction by delayed phantom corrections or derivation from pre-stored background offset data.
Magnetic resonance imaging; Phase-contrast velocity mapping; Background velocity offset error; Cardiac output; Shunt flow; Regurgitation
Measurement of myocardial iron is key to the clinical management of patients at risk of siderotic cardiomyopathy. The cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) relaxation parameter R2* (assessed clinically via its reciprocal T2*) measured in the ventricular septum is used to assess cardiac iron, but iron calibration and distribution data in humans is limited.
Methods and Results
Twelve human hearts were studied from transfusion dependent patients following either death (heart failure n=7, stroke n=1) or transplantation for end-stage heart failure (n=4). After CMR R2* measurement, tissue iron concentration was measured in multiple samples of each heart using inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectroscopy. Iron distribution throughout the heart showed no systematic variation between segments, but epicardial iron concentration was higher than in the endocardium. The mean (±SD) global myocardial iron causing severe heart failure in 10 patients was 5.98 ±2.42mg/g dw (range 3.19–9.50), but in 1 outlier case of heart failure was 25.9mg/g dw. Myocardial ln[R2*] was strongly linearly correlated with ln[Fe] (R2=0.910, p<0.001) leading to [Fe]=45.0•(T2*)−1.22 for the clinical calibration equation with [Fe] in mg/g dw and T2* in ms. Mid-ventricular septal iron concentration and R2* were both highly representative of mean global myocardial iron.
These data detail the iron distribution throughout the heart in iron overload and provide calibration in humans for CMR R2* against myocardial iron concentration. The iron values are of considerable interest with regard to the level of cardiac iron associated with iron-related death and indicate that the heart is more sensitive to iron loading than the liver. The results also validate the current clinical practice of monitoring cardiac iron in-vivo by CMR of the mid septum.
Magnetic resonance imaging; heart; iron overload; siderosis; thalassemia
First-pass myocardial perfusion is often imaged with a tailored hybrid centric interleaved echo-planar-imaging sequence, providing rapid image acquisition with good contrast enhancement. The centric interleaved phase-encode order minimises the effective time-of-echo but it is sensitive to frequency-offsets. This short article aims to show possible artefacts that might originate with this sequence, in the context of first-pass perfusion imaging, when frequency-offsets are present. Non-uniform magnitude modulation effects were also analysed.
Numerical and phantom simulations were used to illustrate the effects of frequency-offsets and non-uniform magnitude modulation with this sequence in a typical perfusion protocol. In vivo data was post-processed to analyse the h-EPI’s sensitivity to the frequency-offsets.
The centric phase-order was shown to be highly sensitive to frequency-offsets due to its symmetrical phase slope. Resulting artefacts include blurring, and splitting of the image into two identical copies along the phase-encode direction. It was also shown that frequency-offsets can introduce signal loss and ghosting of the right ventricle signal into the myocardium. The in vivo results were confirmed by numerical and phantom simulations. Magnitude modulation effects were found to be small.
Imaging first-pass myocardial perfusion with an hybrid centric echo-planar-imaging sequence can be corrupted with ghosting and splitting of the image due to frequency-offsets.