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Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research Myocardial Perfusion Imaging

Myocardial perfusion imaging is a technique for assessing the function of coronary microcirculation in the heart muscle and detecting deficits in tissue blood flow that characterize ischemic heart disease. We are especially interested in quantitative techniques that provide objective and reproducible measures of coronary flow in the heart muscle, in part, because the common visual assessment of myocardial perfusion basically provides only a binary decision as to the presence or absence of a perfusion defect.

Studies such as the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) have shown that the maximal “reserve” of the coronary microcirculation to supply blood in response to stress declines with an increasing cardiovascular risk factor burden. Although such changes may not initially manifest themselves in the form of chest pain or other symptoms, they represent early signs of heart disease with significant effects on long-term prognosis.

Technically, we are particularly interested in developing the MRI protocols, analysis tools, and software that enable an objective and reproducible quantification of myocardial perfusion. An important aspect of this work is the development of models of coronary microcirculation for analyzing contrast enhancement during a so-called “first-pass” perfusion study, i.e., rapid dynamic imaging of the heart during the injection and circulation (“first pass”) of a contrast bolus through the heart.

Contrast-Enhanced, "First Pass" Perfusion Imaging

contrast-enhanced, first pass perfusion imaging


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