BACKGROUND:In patients with acute myocardial infarction (MI), delayed enhancement is seen in MRI 5 to 7 minutes after gadolinium-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-DTPA) injection, and the enhancement occurs in regions that later show recovery of function. However, in a canine model of acute MI, delayed enhancement 20 to 30 minutes after injection only occurs in necrotic regions and not in surrounding, reversibly injured myocardium. The objective of the present study was to determine (1) if the size of the enhanced region varies with time after Gd-DTPA injection and (2) if and when the size of the enhanced region corresponds to the true infarct size.
METHODS AND RESULTS:The left coronary artery was occluded in 15 Lewis rats for 30 minutes (n=9) or 2 hours (n=6); this was followed by reperfusion. MRI scans were performed 48+/-2 hours after-MI. Midventricular short-axis images were obtained continuously for 40 minutes after Gd-DTPA injection (0.3 mmol/kg). The sizes of enhanced regions at each time were determined by threshold analysis and compared with triphenyltetrazolium chloride-stained sections of the excised rat heart. In all animals, the enhanced region overestimated infarct size (28+/-5%) immediately after the injection of Gd-DTPA, although it then gradually receded to match the size of the infarct. The time required for enhancement to accurately determine infarct size was significantly different between 2-hour infarcts (16+/-2 minutes) and 30-minute (26+/-4 minutes) infarcts (P
CONCLUSIONS:In reperfused acute MI, accurate determination of infarct size by delayed enhancement MRI requires imaging at specific times after Gd-DTPA injection, and this time varies with the duration of occlusion.
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