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Herz. 2003 Mar;28(2):82-9.

Assessment of ischemic heart disease using magnetic resonance first-pass perfusion imaging.

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Medical Hospital and Clinics I-Grosshadern, University of Munich, Germany.



Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (MR) perfusion imaging has matured to a point where it can be routinely applied to assess patients with coronary artery disease and ischemic cardiomyopathy. The method has been compared to invasive, catheter-based as well as other noninvasive imaging modalities (echocardiography, single-photon emission computed tomography [SPECT], and positron emission tomography [PET]) for the evaluation of patients with coronary artery disease. Besides qualitative evaluation of MR perfusion images, an absolute quantification of global, regional and transmural myocardial perfusion is possible. A relative or absolute myocardial perfusion reserve has been determined noninvasively with MR perfusion imaging, and can provide good agreement with the invasive assessment. Based on the perfusion reserve, the severity of an epicardial coronary stenosis can be evaluated in patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease. Besides the absence of radiation exposure, MR perfusion imaging offers good temporal and excellent spatial resolution. In particular, the spatial resolution increases the sensitivity and specificity for the detection of coronary artery disease. New parameters such as the "endo-/epimyocardial resting perfusion ratio", may under some circumstances sufficiently enhance the sensitivity for detecting an abnormal perfusion, and thus avoid potentially harmful and expensive stress testing in patients with suspected ischemic heart disease. New revascularization modalities such as therapeutic angiogenesis need to be matched by sensitive imaging tools to prove their benefits. Thus, the optimization of therapeutic angiogenesis may profit from the diagnostic advantages provided by MR perfusion imaging. Furthermore, MR might yield new insights into the pathophysiology of cardiac diseases such as "syndrome X", or might help in the repetitive assessment of heart transplant recipients, possibly obviating the need for further invasive testing.


The breadth of cardiac MRI allows the combined noninvasive assessment of myocardial perfusion, function, as well as myocardial viability. The combination gives MRI a unique and strong position in the field of noninvasive diagnostic cardiology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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