BACKGROUND: The current treatment of many cases of acute myocardial infarction involves the use of thrombolytic agents. Evaluation of this therapy requires determination of the success of reperfusion and assessment of the presence and extent of infarction in the reperfused territory. The present study was designed to simulate in rat models several possible outcomes of reperfusion therapy: (1) successful reperfusion and absence of myocardial infarction, (2) successful reperfusion and presence of myocardial infarction, and (3) unsuccessful reperfusion. The usefulness of contrast-enhanced fast magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in defining the success of reperfusion was investigated. The dynamic effects were examined of low and high doses of gadolinium-BOPTA/dimeglumine (Gd-BOPTA/dimeg) on myocardial signal using MR inversion recovery echo planar imaging (IR-EPI) and gradient recalled echo planar imaging (GR-EPI), respectively. METHODS AND RESULTS: Rats were subjected to one of the following regimens: reperfused reversible myocardial injury (n = 9), reperfused irreversible myocardial injury (n = 9), and occlusive infarction (n = 9). MR echo planar images were acquired every 1 or 2 seconds before, during, and after administration of Gd-BOPTA/dimeg. In all groups, normal myocardial signal was sharply increased on IR-EPI and decreased on GR-EPI at the peak of the bolus, followed by a gradual decline to baseline. In animals subjected to reperfused reversible myocardial injury, normal and previously ischemic regions were indistinguishable during and after the passage of Gd-BOPTA/dimeg. On the other hand, enhancement of reperfused irreversibly injured myocardium was delayed but increased steadily to a higher level than normal myocardium on IR-EPI. The reperfused irreversibly injured myocardium was identified on IR-EPI as a zone of high signal (hot spot). On GR-EPI, signal loss in reperfused irreversibly injured myocardium was significantly less compared with normally perfused myocardium. In animals with occlusive infarctions, there was no change in signal intensity over the ischemic region on either IR-EPI or GR-EPI. Occlusive infarction was identified as zones of either low (cold spot) or high (hot spot) signal compared with normal myocardium, depending on MR pulse sequence and dose of the contrast medium. CONCLUSIONS: The transit of Gd-BOPTA/dimeg monitored by fast MR imaging techniques can be used to distinguish between reperfused reversibly and reperfused irreversibly injured myocardium and between occlusive and reperfused infarctions.
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