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Quantitative magnetic resonance imaging for improved diagnosis of cardiac diseases


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an important imaging procedure in cardiology. To date, only qualitative imaging of the heart has been possible with MRI, since the measuring time is limited due to heart movements and breathing. A new image reconstruction procedure has therefore been developed at PTB. This method quantifies the biophysical parameters of the cardiac muscle with high spatial resolution and thus enables an objective diagnosis.

In MRI, the tissue-specific relaxation time T1 is used as a quantitative marker. T1 describes the time-dependent behavior of the nuclear spins after they have been excited by means of a magnetic AC field. The figure shows the T1 map of the heart of a healthy volunteer and that of a patient.

In addition, the measurement provides information about the pumping behavior of the heart. Due to this, a further important clinical parameter is available for the diagnosis of heart diseases without having to carry out additional measurements. The patient is thus examined more efficiently.

In contrast to methods that are already available, the accuracy of the values determined in this way is independent of the heart rate and is in excellent agreement with the result of a four-hour reference measurement. this measurement procedure paves the way for quantitative cardiac MRI for both hospitals and research; it is expected to contribute to improving diagnoses and making measurements performed at different hospitals easier to compare. The procedure has meanwhile also been tested on patients within the scope of a cooperation project with Charité hospital in Berl