Myocardial Tissue Characterization Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Sammanfattning: In cardiovascular disease, which is the most common cause of death in the world, early diagnosis is crucial for disease outcome. Diagnosis of cardiovascular disease can be challenging, though. Quantification of myocardial T1 and T2 relaxation times with MRI has demonstrated to be a promising method for characterizing myocardial tissue, but long measurement times have hampered clinical use. The overall aim of this doctoral thesis was to develop, validate and, in patient studies, evaluate a very fast three-dimensional method for simultaneous quantification of myocardial T1 and T2 relaxation times with whole coverage of the left ventricle.The 3D-QALAS method is presented in Paper I of this thesis. It is a method that simultaneous measures both T1 and T2 relaxation times in a three-dimensional volume of the heart. The method requires 15 heartbeats, to produce 13 short-axis slices of the left ventricle with voxelwise information of both T1 and T2 relaxation times. The 3D-QALAS method was validated in phantoms and in 10 healthy volunteers by comparing the method with reference methods and demonstrated good accuracy and robustness both in-vitro and in-vivo.In Paper II, the 3D-QALAS method was carefully validated in-vivo by investigating accuracy and precision in 10 healthy volunteers, while the clinical feasibility of the method was investigated in 23 patients with various cardiac pathologies. Repeated independent and dependent scans together with the intra-scan repeatability, demonstrated all a very good precision for the 3D-QALAS method in healthy volunteers.In Paper III and IV, the 3D-QALAS method was applied and evaluated in patient cohorts where the heart muscle alters over time. In Paper III, patients with severe aortic stenosis underwent MRI examinations with 3D-QALAS before, 3 months after and 12 months after aortic valve surgery. Changes in T1 and T2 were observed, which might be used as markers of myocardial changes with respect to edema and fibrosis, which may develop due to increased workload over a long period of time.In study IV, 3D-QALAS was used to investigate 10 breast cancer patients treated with radiation therapy prior to treatment, 2-3 weeks into treatment, and one and 6 months after completion of treatment, to investigate any changes in T1 and T2 and further if they can be correlated to unwanted irradiation of the heart during radiation therapy.  

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