Single Breath-Hold T1ρ-Mapping of the Heart for Endogenous Assessment of Myocardial Fibrosis

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In this study, we propose a method to acquire high spatial-resolution T1ρ-maps, which allows bright and black-blood imaging, in a single breath-hold. To validate this innovative method, the reproducibility was tested in phantoms and volunteers. Lastly, the sensitivity and specificity for infarct detection was compared with the criterion standard late gadolinium enhancement (LGE).


T1ρ-mapping was performed using a T1ρ-prepared balanced steady-state free precession sequence at 1.5 T and 3 T. Five images with increasing spin-lock preparation times (spin-lock = 0, 10, 20, 30, 40 milliseconds, amplitude = 500 Hz) were acquired with an interval of 3 beats. Black-blood imaging was performed using a double inversion pulse sequence. The method was tested in 2 times 10 healthy volunteers at 1.5 and 3 T and in 9 myocardial infarction patients at 1.5 T. T1ρ-maps, and LGE images were scored for presence and extent of myocardial scarring.


Phantom results show that the proposed T1ρ-mapping method gives accurate T1ρ-values. The mean T1ρ-relaxation time of the myocardium in healthy controls was 52.8 ± 1.8 milliseconds at 1.5 T and 46.4 ± 1.8 milliseconds at 3 T. In patients, the T1ρ of infarcted myocardium was (82.4 ± 5.2 milliseconds), and the T1ρ of remote myocardium was (54.2 ± 2.8 milliseconds; P < 0.0001). Sensitivity of infarct detection on a T1ρ-map was 70%, with a specificity of 94%, compared with LGE.


In this study, we have investigated a method to acquire high spatial-resolution T1ρ-maps of the heart in a single breath-hold. This method proved to be reproducible and had high specificity compared with LGE and can thus be used for the endogenous detection of myocardial fibrosis in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy.

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