Cardiovascular disease is primarily diagnosed using invasive X-ray cineangiography. Here we introduce a new concept in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that, for the first time, produces similar images noninvasively and without a contrast agent. Protons in moving blood are 'tagged' every few milliseconds as they travel through an arbitrary region in space. Simultaneous with ongoing tagging of new blood, previously tagged blood is maintained in a state of global coherent free precession (GCFP), which allows acquisition of consecutive movie frames as the heart pushes blood through the vascular bed. Body tissue surrounding the moving blood is never excited and therefore remains invisible. In 18 subjects, pulsating blood could be seen flowing through three-dimensional (3D) space for distances of up to 16 cm outside the stationary excitation region. These data underscore that our approach noninvasively characterizes both anatomy and blood flow in a manner directly analogous to invasive procedures.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)