MRI closer to coronary artery diagnosis than ever before.
Many know that a beating heart is sometimes difficult to capture using MRI, but now MRI is closer to coronary artery diagnosis.
Typically, gating and capturing the heart are done using prospective or retrospective gating, with retrospective gating being the more commonly used technique today.
Fifteen years ago, prospective was the only way to acquire gated images with MRI, as retrospective was unavailable on most MRI systems.
Prior to many of the updated gating algorithms which discarded arrhythmias (abnormal heartbeats) during an acquisition, it could be quite difficult, and sometimes impossible to get accurate images with irregular beats. If a patient has too irregular a heartbeat, an MRI may not be the best imaging modality.
One of the keys to determining the value of coronary artery imaging in MRI, is the possibility of calculating the amount of atherosclerotic placque inside the small arteries that feed the heart muscle.
It seems a team at NIH (National Institutes of Health) has created a technique which has gotten MRI closer to coronary artery diagnosis.
In a quote taken from a recent article, “Imaging the coronary arteries that supply the heart with blood is extremely difficult because they are very small and constantly in motion,” said lead researcher Khaled Z. Abd-Elmoniem, Ph.D., staff scientist in the Biomedical and Metabolic Imaging branch of NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. “Obtaining a reliable and accurate image of these vessels is very important because thickening of the vessel wall is an early indicator of atherosclerosis.”
The thickening of coronary vessels were evaluated through use of a new time -resolved multi-frame acquisition technique in which five images are acquired in a very fast in order to capture an image free of motion and blurring. The success rate of using this technique was ninety percent (90%) as opposed to seventy-six percent (76%) for a single frame imaging technique.
Additional studies will be necessary to validate this technique, and without much of the details on how this is being done, it may be as simple as using very fast MRI real-time fluoro technique to capture the coronary vessel in a cross section. For the full article and source, go HERE.
The value of getting MRI closer to coronary artery diagnosis, is because with MRI there are no damaging x-rays or ionizing radiation used during the imaging process like there is in CT cardiac scoring. Even with reduced dose CT scanners, there is still damaging x-ray needed to create the images for diagnosis. As long as the patient is safe to be scanned inside the MRI scanner and full safety protocols are utilized by the MRI site, the MRI is probably safer.