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.
We used cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) to study normal left ventricular (LV) trabeculation as a basis for differentiation from pathological noncompaction.
Methods and Results
The apparent end-diastolic (ED) and end-systolic (ES) thicknesses and thickening of trabeculated and compacted myocardial layers were measured in 120 volunteers using a consistent selection of basal, mid, and apical CMR short-axis slices. All had a visible trabeculated layer in 1 or more segments. The compacted but not the trabeculated layer was thicker in men than in women (P<0.01 at ED and ES). When plotted against age, the trabeculated and compacted layer thicknesses demonstrated opposite changes: an increase of the compact layer after the fourth decade at both ED and ES (P<0.05) but a decrease of the trabeculated layer. There was age-related preservation of total wall thickness at ED but an increase at ES (P<0.05). The compacted layer thickened, whereas the trabeculated layer thinned with systole, but neither change differed between sexes. With age, the most trabeculated LV segments showed significantly greater systolic thinning of trabeculated layers and, conversely, greater thickening of the compact segments (P<0.05). Total wall thickening is neither sex nor age dependent. There were no sex differences in the trabeculated/compacted ratio at ES or ED, but the ES trabeculated/compacted ratio was smaller in older (50 to 79 years) versus younger (20 to 49 years) groups (P<0.05).
We demonstrated age- and sex-related morphometric differences in the apparent trabeculated and compacted layer thicknesses and systolic thinning of the visible trabeculated layer that contrasts with compacted myocardial wall thickening.
myocardium; trabeculae, myocardium, systolic thickening; isolated noncompaction of the ventricular myocardium; contractility
The indications, complexity and capabilities of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) have rapidly expanded. Whether actual service provision and training have developed in parallel is unknown.
We undertook a systematic telephone and postal survey of all public hospitals on behalf of the British Society of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance to identify all CMR providers within the United Kingdom.
Of the 60 CMR centres identified, 88% responded to a detailed questionnaire. Services are led by cardiologists and radiologists in equal proportion, though the majority of current trainees are cardiologists. The mean number of CMR scans performed annually per centre increased by 44% over two years. This trend was consistent across centres of different scanning volumes. The commonest indication for CMR was assessment of heart failure and cardiomyopathy (39%), followed by coronary artery disease and congenital heart disease. There was striking geographical variation in CMR availability, numbers of scans performed, and distribution of trainees. Centres without on site scanning capability refer very few patients for CMR. Just over half of centres had a formal training programme, and few performed regular audit.
The number of CMR scans performed in the UK has increased dramatically in just two years. Trainees are mainly located in large volume centres and enrolled in cardiology as opposed to radiology training programmes.
There were 75 articles published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (JCMR) in 2010, which is a 34% increase in the number of articles since 2009. The quality of the submissions continues to increase, and the editors were delighted with the recent announcement of the JCMR Impact Factor of 4.33 which showed a 90% increase since last year. Our acceptance rate is approximately 30%, but 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. Last year for the first time, the Editors summarized the papers for the readership into broad areas of interest or theme, which we felt would be useful to practitioners of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) so that you could review areas of interest from the previous year in a single article in relation to each other and other recent JCMR articles . This experiment proved very popular with a very high rate of downloading, and therefore we intend to continue this review annually. The papers are presented in themes and comparison is drawn with previously published JCMR papers to identify the continuity of thought and publication 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.
Heart failure remains a major cause of mortality in thalassaemia major. The possible role of cardiac fibrosis in thalassemia major in the genesis of heart failure is not clear. It is also unclear whether cardiac fibrosis might arise as a result of heart failure.
We studied 45 patients with thalassaemia major who had a wide range of current cardiac iron loading and included patients with prior and current heart failure. Myocardial iron was measured using T2* cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR), and following this, late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) was used to determine the presence of macroscopic myocardial fibrosis.
The median myocardial T2* in all patients was 22.6 ms (range 5.3-58.8 ms). Fibrosis was detected in only one patient, whose myocardial T2* was 20.1 ms and left ventricular ejection fraction 57%. No fibrosis was identified in 5 patients with a history of heart failure with full recovery, in 3 patients with current left ventricular dysfunction undergoing treatment, or in 18 patients with myocardial iron loading with cardiacT2* < 20 ms at the time of scan.
This study shows that macroscopic myocardial fibrosis is uncommon in thalassemia major across a broad spectrum of myocardial iron loading. Importantly, there was no macroscopic fibrosis in patients with current or prior heart failure, or in patients with myocardial iron loading without heart failure. Therefore if myocardial fibrosis indeed contributes to myocardial dysfunction in thalassemia, our data combined with the knowledge that the myocardial dysfunction of iron overload can be reversed, indicates that any such fibrosis would need to be both microscopic and reversible.
Left atrial (LA) size is related to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) provides high quality images of the left atrium with high temporal resolution steady state free precession (SSFP) cine sequences. We used SSFP cines to define normal ranges for LA volumes and dimensions relative to gender, age and body surface area (BSA), and examine the relative value of 2D atrial imaging techniques in patients.
For definition of normal ranges of LA volume we studied 120 healthy subjects after careful exclusion of cardiovascular abnormality (60 men, 60 women; 20 subjects per age decile from 20 to 80 years). Data were generated from 3-dimensional modeling, including tracking of the atrioventricular ring motion and time-volume curves analysis. For definition of the best 2D images-derived predictors of LA enlargement, we studied 120 patients (60 men, 60 women; age range 20 to 80 years) with a clinical indication for CMR.
In the healthy subjects, age was associated with LA 4-chamber transverse and 3-chamber anteroposterior diameters, but not with LA volume. Gender was an independent predictor of most absolute LA dimensions and volume, but following normalization to BSA, some associations became non-significant. CMR normal ranges were modeled and are tabled for clinical use with normalization, where appropriate, for BSA and gender and display of parameter variation with age. The best 2D predictors of LA volume were the 2-chamber area and 3-chamber area (both r = 0.90, p < 0.001).
These CMR data show that LA dimensions and volume in healthy, individuals vary significantly by BSA, with lesser effects of age and gender.
Reproducible and accurate myocardial T2* measurement is required for the quantification of iron in the tissue of heart in transfused thalassemia. The aim of this study was to determine the best method to measure the myocardial T2* from multi-gradient echo data acquired both with and without black blood preparation. Sixteen thalassemia patients from six centres were scanned twice locally, within 1 week, using an optimised bright blood T2* sequence and then subsequently scanned at the standardization centre in London within 4 weeks, using a T2* sequence both with and without black blood preparation. Different curve fitting models (Mono-exponential, Truncation, and Offset) were applied to the data and the results were compared by means of reproducibility. The T2* measurements using both the bright and black blood techniques were also compared. The black blood data was well fitted by the mono-exponential model, which suggests a more accurate measure of T2* by removing the main source of errors in the bright blood data. For bright blood data, the offset model appeared to underestimate T2* values substantially and was less reproducible; the truncation model gave rise to more reproducible T2* measurements, which were also closer to the values obtained from the black blood data.
MRI; T2* relaxation; curve fitting; accuracy; reproducibility; iron overload
Left ventricular mass (LVM) and cardiac gene expression are complex traits regulated by factors both intrinsic and extrinsic to the heart. To dissect the major determinants of LVM, we combined expression quantitative trait locus1 and quantitative trait transcript2 (QTT) analyses of the cardiac transcriptome in the rat. Using these methods and in vitro functional assays, we identified osteoglycin (Ogn) as a major candidate regulator of rat LVM, with increased Ogn protein expression associated with elevated LVM. We also applied genome-wide QTT analysis to the human heart and observed that, out of ~22,000 transcripts, OGN transcript abundance had the highest correlation with LVM. We further confirmed a role for Ogn in the in vivo regulation of LVM in Ogn knockout mice. Taken together, these data implicate Ogn as a key regulator of LVM in rats, mice and humans, and suggest that Ogn modifies the hypertrophic response to extrinsic factors such as hypertension and aortic stenosis.
Doubts remain over the use of the ECG in identifying those with increased left ventricular (LV) mass. This is especially so in young individuals, despite their high prevalence of ECG criteria for LV hypertrophy. We performed a study using cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR), which provides an in vivo non-invasive gold standard method of measuring LV mass, allowing accurate assessment of electrocardiography as a tool for defining LV hypertrophy in the young.
Methods and results
Standard 12-lead ECGs were obtained from 101 Caucasian male army recruits aged (mean ± SEM) 19.7 ± 0.2 years. LV mass was measured using CMR. LV mass indexed to body surface area demonstrated no significant correlation with the Cornell Amplitude criteria or Cornell Product for LV hypertrophy. Moderate correlations were seen with the Sokolow-Lyon Amplitude (0.28) and Sokolow-Lyon Product (0.284). Defining LV hypertrophy as a body surface area indexed left ventricular mass of 93 g/m2, calculated sensitivities [and specificities] were as follows; 38.7% [74.3%] for the Sokolow-Lyon criteria, 43.4% [61.4%] for the Sokolow-Lyon Product, 19.4% [91.4%] for Cornell Amplitude, and 22.6% [85.7%] for Cornell Product. These values are substantially less than those reported for older age groups.
ECG criteria for LV hypertrophy may have little value in determining LV mass or the presence of LV hypertrophy in young fit males.
Cardiac involvement is common in amyloidosis and associated with a variably adverse outcome. We have previously shown that cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) can assess deposition of amyloid protein in the myocardial interstitium. In this study we assessed the prognostic value of late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) and gadolinium kinetics in cardiac amyloidosis in a prospective longitudinal study.
Materials and methods
The pre-defined study end point was all-cause mortality. We prospectively followed a cohort of 29 patients with proven cardiac amyloidosis. All patients underwent biopsy, 2D-echocardiography and Doppler studies, 123I-SAP scintigraphy, serum NT pro BNP assay, and CMR with a T1 mapping method and late gadolinium enhancement (LGE).
Patients with were followed for a median of 623 days (IQ range 221, 1436), during which 17 (58%) patients died. The presence of myocardial LGE by itself was not a significant predictor of mortality. However, death was predicted by gadolinium kinetics, with the 2 minute post-gadolinium intramyocardial T1 difference between subepicardium and subendocardium predicting mortality with 85% accuracy at a threshold value of 23 ms (the lower the difference the worse the prognosis). Intramyocardial T1 gradient was a better predictor of survival than FLC response to chemotherapy (Kaplan Meier analysis P = 0.049) or diastolic function (Kaplan-Meier analysis P = 0.205).
In cardiac amyloidosis, CMR provides unique information relating to risk of mortality based on gadolinium kinetics which reflects the severity of the cardiac amyloid burden.
The UK Thalassaemia Register records births, deaths and selected clinical data of patients with thalassaemia who are resident in the UK. A study of survival and causes of death was undertaken which aimed to include the possible impact of T2* cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR).
The Register was updated to the end of 2003, copies of death certificates were obtained, and causes of death in beta thalassaemia major were extracted. In addition, patients who had T2* CMR assessment of cardiac iron load and/or received the oral iron chelator deferiprone were identified from clinical records.
The main causes of death were anaemia (before 1980), infections, complications of bone marrow transplantation and cardiac disease due to iron overload. From 1980 to 1999 there were 12.7 deaths from all causes per 1,000 patient years. Forty per cent of patients born before 1980 had T2* cardiovascular magnetic resonance between 2000 and 2003, and 36% of these patients were prescribed deferiprone before end of 2003. In 2000–2003, the death rate from all causes fell significantly to 4.3 per 1,000 patient years (-62%, p < 0.05). This was mainly driven by the reduction in the rate of deaths from iron overload which fell from 7.9 to 2.3 deaths per 1,000 patient years (-71%, p < 0.05).
Since 1999, there has been a marked improvement in survival in thalassaemia major in the UK, which has been mainly driven by a reduction in deaths due to cardiac iron overload. The most likely causes for this include the introduction of T2* CMR to identify myocardial siderosis and appropriate intensification of iron chelation treatment, alongside other improvements in clinical care.
Intracoronary testosterone infusions induce coronary vasodilatation and increase coronary blood flow. Longer term testosterone supplementation favorably affected signs of myocardial ischemia in men with low plasma testosterone and coronary heart disease. However, the effects on myocardial perfusion are unknown. Effects of longer term testosterone treatment on myocardial perfusion and vascular function were investigated in men with CHD and low plasma testosterone. Twenty-two men (mean age 57 ± 9 [SD] years) were randomly assigned to oral testosterone undecanoate (TU; 80 mg twice daily) or placebo in a crossover study design. After each 8-week period, subjects underwent at rest and adenosine-stress first-pass myocardial perfusion cardiovascular magnetic resonance, pulse-wave analysis, and endothelial function measurements using radial artery tonometry, blood sampling, anthropomorphic measurements, and quality-of-life assessment. Although no difference was found in global myocardial perfusion after TU compared with placebo, myocardium supplied by unobstructed coronary arteries showed increased perfusion (1.83 ± 0.9 vs 1.52 ± 0.65; p = 0.037). TU decreased basal radial and aortic augmentation indexes (p = 0.03 and p = 0.02, respectively), indicating decreased arterial stiffness, but there was no effect on endothelial function. TU significantly decreased high-density lipoprotein cholesterol and increased hip circumference, but had no effect on hemostatic factors, quality of life, and angina symptoms. In conclusion, oral TU had selective and modest enhancing effects on perfusion in myocardium supplied by unobstructed coronary arteries, in line with previous intracoronary findings. The TU-related decrease in basal arterial stiffness may partly explain previously shown effects of exogenous testosterone on signs of exercise-induced myocardial ischemia.