Measuring extracellular volume fraction by MRI: First verification of values given by clinical sequences

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PURPOSE: To verify MR measurements of myocardial extracellular volume fraction (ECV) based on clinically applicable T1-mapping sequences against ECV measurements by radioisotope tracer in pigs and to relate the results to those obtained in volunteers.

METHODS: Between May 2016 and March 2017, 8 volunteers (25 ± 4 years, 3 female) and 8 pigs (4 female) underwent ECV assessment with SASHA, MOLLI5(3b)3, MOLLI5(3s)3, and MOLLI5s(3s)3s. Myocardial ECV was measured independently in pigs using a radioisotope tracer method.

RESULTS: In pigs, ECV in normal myocardium was not different between radioisotope (average ± standard deviation; 19 ± 2%) and SASHA (21 ± 2%; P = 0.086). ECV was higher by MOLLI5(3b)3 (26 ± 2%), MOLLI5(3s)3 (25 ± 2%), and MOLLI5s(3s)3s (25 ± 2%) compared with SASHA or radioisotope (P ≤ 0.001 for all). ECV in volunteers was higher by MOLLI5(3b)3 (26 ± 3%) and MOLLI5(3s)3 (26 ± 3%) than by SASHA (22 ± 3%; P = 0.022 and P = 0.033). No difference was found between MOLLI5s(3s)3s (25 ± 3%) and SASHA (P = 0.225). Native T1 of blood and myocardium as well as postcontrast T1 of myocardium was consistently lower using MOLLI compared with SASHA. ECV increased over time as measured by MOLLI5(3b)3 and MOLLI5(3s)3 for pigs (0.08% and 0.07%/min; P = 0.004 and P = 0.013) and by MOLLI5s(3s)3s for volunteers (0.07%/min; P = 0.032) but did not increase as measured by SASHA.

CONCLUSION: Clinically available MOLLI and SASHA techniques can be used to accurately estimate ECV in normal myocardium where MOLLI-sequences show minor overestimation driven by underestimation of postcontrast T1 when compared with SASHA. The timing of imaging after contrast administration affected the measurement of ECV using some variants of the MOLLI sequence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)662-672
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number2
Early online date2019 Aug 16
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging


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