Cardiac function and myocardial perfusion immediately following maximal treadmill exercise inside the MRI room
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Citation:Jekic, Mihaela, Foster, Eric, Ballinger, Michelle, Raman, Subha, Simonetti, Orlando. "Cardiac function and myocardial perfusion immediately following maximal treadmill exercise inside the MRI room," Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance, v10, n3 (January, 2008)
Treadmill exercise stress testing is an essential tool in the prevention, detection, and treatment of a broad spectrum of cardiovascular disease. After maximal exercise, cardiac images at peak stress are typically acquired using nuclear scintigraphy or echocardiography, both of which have inherent limitations. Although CMR offers superior image quality, the lack of MRI-compatible exercise and monitoring equipment has prevented the realization of treadmill exercise CMR.It is critical to commence imaging as quickly as possible after exercise to capture exercise-induced cardiac wall motion abnormalities. We modified a commercial treadmill such that it could be safely positioned inside the MRI room to minimize the distance between the treadmill and the scan table. We optimized the treadmill exercise CMR protocol in 20 healthy volunteers and successfully imaged cardiac function and myocardial perfusion at peak stress, followed by viability imaging at rest. Imaging commenced an average of 30 seconds after maximal exercise. Real-time cine of seven slices with no breath-hold and no ECG-gating was completed within 45 seconds of exercise, immediately followed by stress perfusion imaging of three short-axis slices which showed an average time to peak enhancement within 57 seconds of exercise. We observed a 3.1-fold increase in cardiac output and a myocardial perfusion reserve index of 1.9, which agree with reported values for healthy subjects at peak stress. This study successfully demonstrates in-room treadmill exercise CMR in healthy volunteers, but confirmation of feasibility in patients with heart disease is still needed.
The authors would like to thank Beth McCarthy for her assistance in conducting the exercise CMR studies, and Duane Hart for technical support.
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