Myocardial fibrosis is a common endpoint in a variety of cardiac diseases and a major independent predictor of adverse cardiac outcomes. Short of histopathologic analysis, which is limited by sampling bias, most diagnostic modalities are limited in their depiction of myocardial fibrosis. Cardiac magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has the advantage of providing detailed soft-tissue characterization, and a variety of novel quantification methods have further improved its usefulness. Contrast material-enhanced cardiac MR imaging depends on differences in signal intensity between regions of scarring and adjacent normal myocardium. Diffuse myocardial fibrosis lacks these differences in signal intensity. Measurement of myocardial T1 times (T1 mapping) with gadolinium-enhanced inversion recovery-prepared sequences may depict diffuse myocardial fibrosis and has good correlation with ex vivo fibrosis content. T1 mapping calculates myocardial T1 relaxation times with image-based signal intensities and may be performed with standard cardiac MR imagers and radiologic workstations. Myocardium with diffuse fibrosis has greater retention of contrast material, resulting in T1 times that are shorter than those in normal myocardium. Early studies have suggested that diffuse myocardial fibrosis may be distinguished from normal myocardium with T1 mapping. Large multicenter studies are needed to define the role of T1 mapping in developing prognoses and therapeutic assessments. However, given its strengths as a noninvasive method for direct quantification of myocardial fibrosis, T1 mapping may eventually play an important role in the management of cardiac disease.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging