Contrast-free high-resolution 3D magnetization transfer imaging for simultaneous myocardial scar and cardiac vein visualization

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OBJECTIVE: To develop a three-dimensional (3D) high-resolution free-breathing magnetization transfer ratio (MTR) sequence for contrast-free assessment of myocardial infarct and coronary vein anatomy.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Two datasets with and without off-resonance magnetization transfer preparation were sequentially acquired to compute MTR. 2D image navigators enabled beat-to-beat translational and bin-to-bin non-rigid motion correction. Two different imaging sequences were explored. MTR scar localization was compared against 3D late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) in a porcine model of myocardial infarction. MTR variability across the left ventricle and vessel sharpness in the coronary veins were evaluated in healthy human subjects.

RESULTS: A decrease in MTR was observed in areas with LGE in all pigs (non-infarct: 25.1 ± 1.7% vs infarct: 16.8 ± 1.9%). The average infarct volume overlap on MTR and LGE was 62.5 ± 19.2%. In humans, mean MTR in myocardium was between 37 and 40%. Spatial variability was between 15 and 20% of the mean value. 3D whole heart MT-prepared datasets enabled coronary vein visualization with up to 8% improved vessel sharpness for non-rigid compared to translational motion correction.

DISCUSSION: MTR and LGE showed agreement in infarct detection and localization in a swine model. Free-breathing 3D MTR maps are feasible in humans but high spatial variability was observed. Further clinical studies are warranted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)627-640
Number of pages14
JournalMagma: Magnetic Resonance Materials in Physics, Biology and Medicine
Issue number5
Early online date20 Feb 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • Coronary vessels
  • Fibrosis
  • Magnetic resonance imaging


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