Importance of standardizing timing of hematocrit measurement when using cardiovascular magnetic resonance to calculate myocardial extracellular volume (ECV) based on pre- and post-contrast T1 mapping

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Background: Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) can be used to calculate myocardial extracellular volume fraction (ECV) by relating the longitudinal relaxation rate in blood and myocardium before and after contrast-injection to hematocrit (Hct) in blood. Hematocrit is known to vary with body posture, which could affect the calculations of ECV. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that there is a significant increase in calculated ECV values if the Hct is sampled after the CMR examination in supine position compared to when the patient arrives at the MR department. Methods: Forty-three consecutive patients including various pathologies as well as normal findings were included in the study. Venous blood samples were drawn upon arrival to the MR department and directly after the examination with the patient remaining in supine position. A Modified Look-Locker Inversion recovery (MOLLI) protocol was used to acquire mid-ventricular short-axis images before and after contrast injection from which motion-corrected T1 maps were derived and ECV was calculated. Results: Hematocrit decreased from 44.0 ± 3.7% before to 40.6 ± 4.0% after the CMR examination (p < 0.001). This resulted in a change in calculated ECV from 24.7 ± 3.8% before to 26.2 ± 4.2% after the CMR examination (p < 0.001). All patients decreased in Hct after the CMR examination compared to before except for two patients whose Hct remained the same. Conclusion: Variability in CMR-derived myocardial ECV can be reduced by standardizing the timing of Hct measurement relative to the CMR examination. Thus, a standardized acquisition of blood sample for Hct after the CMR examination, when the patient is still in supine position, would increase the precision of ECV measurements.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging


  • ECV, Extracellular volume, Hematocrit, T1 mapping
Original languageEnglish
Article number46
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun 28
Publication categoryResearch