Endogenous contrast T1ρ cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) can detect scar or infiltrative fibrosis in patients with ischemic or non-ischemic cardiomyopathy. Existing 2D T1ρ techniques have limited spatial coverage or require multiple breath-holds. The purpose of this project was to develop an accelerated, free-breathing 3D T1ρ mapping sequence with whole left ventricle coverage using a multicoil, compressed sensing (CS) reconstruction technique for rapid reconstruction of undersampled k-space data.
We developed a cardiac- and respiratory-gated, free-breathing 3D T1ρ sequence and acquired data using a variable-density k-space sampling pattern (A = 3). The effect of the transient magnetization trajectory, incomplete recovery of magnetization between T1ρ-preparations (heart rate dependence), and k-space sampling pattern on T1ρ relaxation time error and edge blurring was analyzed using Bloch simulations for normal and chronically infarcted myocardium. Sequence accuracy and repeatability was evaluated using MnCl2 phantoms with different T1ρ relaxation times and compared to 2D measurements. We further assessed accuracy and repeatability in healthy subjects and compared these results to 2D breath-held measurements.
The error in T1ρ due to incomplete recovery of magnetization between T1ρ-preparations was T1ρhealthy = 6.1% and T1ρinfarct = 10.8% at 60 bpm and T1ρhealthy = 13.2% and T1ρinfarct = 19.6% at 90 bpm. At a heart rate of 60 bpm, error from the combined effects of readout-dependent magnetization transients, k-space undersampling and reordering was T1ρhealthy = 12.6% and T1ρinfarct = 5.8%. CS reconstructions had improved edge sharpness (blur metric = 0.15) compared to inverse Fourier transform reconstructions (blur metric = 0.48). There was strong agreement between the mean T1ρ estimated from the 2D and accelerated 3D data (R2 = 0.99; P < 0.05) acquired on the MnCl2 phantoms. The mean R1ρ estimated from the accelerated 3D sequence was highly correlated with MnCl2 concentration (R2 = 0.99; P < 0.05). 3D T1ρ acquisitions were successful in all human subjects. There was no significant bias between undersampled 3D T1ρ and breath-held 2D T1ρ (mean bias = 0.87) and the measurements had good repeatability (COV2D = 6.4% and COV3D = 7.1%).
This is the first report of an accelerated, free-breathing 3D T1ρ mapping of the left ventricle. This technique may improve non-contrast myocardial tissue characterization in patients with heart disease in a scan time appropriate for patients.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.