OBJECTIVES: Visualizing left atrial anatomy including the pulmonary veins (PVs) is important for planning the procedure of pulmonary vein isolation with ablation in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF). The aims of our study are to investigate the feasibility of the 3D whole-heart bright-blood and black-blood phase-sensitive (BOOST) inversion recovery sequence in patients with AF scheduled for ablation or electro-cardioversion, and to analyze the correlation between image quality and heart rate and rhythm of patients.
METHODS: BOOST was performed for assessing PVs both with T2 preparation pre-pulse (T2prep) and magnetization transfer preparation (MTC) in 45 patients with paroxysmal or permanent AF scheduled for ablation or electro-cardioversion. Image quality analyses were performed by two independent observers. Qualitative assessment was made using the Likert scale; for quantitative analysis, signal to noise ratios (SNR) and contrast to noise ratios (CNR) were calculated for each PV. Heart rate and rhythm were analyzed based on standard 12-lead ECGs.
RESULTS: All MTC-BOOST acquisitions achieved diagnostic quality in the PVs, while a significant proportion of T2prep-BOOST images were not suitable for assessing PVs. SNR and CNR values of the MTC-BOOST bright-blood images were higher if patients had sinus rhythm. We found a significant or nearly significant negative correlation between heart rate and the SNR and CNR values of MTC-BOOST bright-blood images.
CONCLUSION: 3D whole-heart MTC-BOOST bright-blood imaging is suitable for visualizing the PVs in patients with AF, producing diagnostic image quality in 100% of cases. However, image quality was influenced by heart rate and rhythm.
CLINICAL RELEVANCE STATEMENT: The novel 3D whole-heart BOOST CMR sequence needs no contrast administration and is performed during free-breathing; therefore, it is easy to use for a wide range of patients and is suitable for visualizing the PVs in patients with AF.
KEY POINTS: • The applicability of the novel 3D whole-heart bright-blood and black-blood phase-sensitive sequence to pulmonary vein imaging in clinical practice is unknown. • Magnetization transfer-bright-blood and black-blood phase-sensitive imaging is suitable for visualizing the pulmonary veins in patients with atrial fibrillation with excellent or good image quality. • Bright-blood and black-blood phase-sensitive cardiac magnetic resonance sequence is easy to use for a wide range of patients as it needs no contrast administration and is performed during free-breathing.