BACKGROUND: Despite the large availability of 3T MR scanners and the potential of high field imaging, this technical platform has yet to prove its usefulness in the cardiac MR setting, where 1.5T remains the established standard. Global perfusion of the left ventricle, as well as the coronary flow reserve (CFR), can provide relevant diagnostic information, and MR measurements of these parameters may benefit from increased field strength. Quantitative flow measurements in the coronary sinus (CS) provide one method to investigate these parameters. However, the ability of newly developed faster MR sequences to measure coronary flow during a breath-hold at 3T has not been evaluated.
METHODS: The aim of this work was to measure CS flow using segmented phase contrast MR (PC MR) on a clinical 3T MR scanner. Parallel imaging was employed to reduce the total acquisition time. Global LV perfusion was calculated by dividing CS flow with left ventricular (LV) mass. The repeatability of the method was investigated by measuring the flow three times in each of the twelve volunteers. Phantom experiments were performed to investigate potential error sources.
RESULTS: The average CS flow was determined to 88 +/- 33 ml/min and the deduced LV perfusion was 0.60 +/- 0.22 ml/min.g, in agreement with published values. The repeatability (1-error) of the three repeated measurements in each subject was on average 84%.
CONCLUSION: This work demonstrates that the combination of high field strength (3T), parallel imaging and segmented gradient echo sequences allow for quantification of the CS flow and global perfusion within a breath-hold.
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