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Magn Reson Med. 2009 Mar;61(3):668-77. doi: 10.1002/mrm.21878.

MR elastography of the human heart: noninvasive assessment of myocardial elasticity changes by shear wave amplitude variations.

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Department of Radiology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.


Many cardiovascular diseases and disorders are associated with hemodynamic dysfunction. The heart's ability to contract and pump blood through the vascular system primarily depends on the elasticity of the myocardium. This article introduces a magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) technique that allows noninvasive and time-resolved measurement of changes in myocardial elasticity over the cardiac cycle. To this end, low-frequency shear vibrations of 24.3 Hz were induced in the human heart via the anterior chest wall. An electrocardiograph (ECG)-triggered, steady-state MRE sequence was used to capture shear oscillations with a frame rate of eight images per vibration cycle. The time evolution of 2D-shear wave fields was observed in two imaging planes through the short axis of the heart in six healthy volunteers. Correlation analysis revealed that wave amplitudes were modulated in synchrony to the heartbeat with up to 2.45 +/- 0.18 higher amplitudes during diastole than during systole (interindividual mean +/- SD). The reduction of wave amplitudes started at 75 +/- 9 ms prior to changes in left ventricular diameter occurring at the beginning of systole. Analysis of this wave amplitude alteration using a linear elastic constitutive model revealed a maximum change in the myocardial wall stiffness of a factor of 37.7 +/- 10.6 during the cardiac cycle.

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