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Ex-vivo study of the human heart with diffusion tensor imaging: sensitivity to cardiovascular risk factors

Thursday, October 11, 2012 — Poster Session III

10:00 a.m. – Noon

Natcher Conference Center, Building 45




  • N. Gai
  • E. Turkbey
  • D. Bluemke


Cardiac diffusion tensor imaging(DTI) can provide structural information to complement MR perfusion studies. Previous studies have shown differences in certain measured DTI parameters between normal and infracted myocardium or in heart failure patients. However, other MR techniques could also be used for the purpose, making the utility of DTI moot. We studied the sensitivity of DTI to heart disease using a graded approach to disease which has heretofore not been done. Human hearts were procured through NDRI, Philadelphia. Maximum tissue post-mortem recovery interval was 12hrs and delivery time was 72hrs. Hearts were fixed in 10% formalin post-recovery and imaged using single-shot EPI with reduced FOV on a 3T scanner. Fiber tracking was performed with fixed threshold values. Framingham risk scores(FRS) were calculated based on factors like hypertension, smoking, diabetes, dyslipidemia and history of cardiac disease. The non-parametric Spearman’s rank correlation was calculated to assess trends between the risk score and DTI derived values such as fractional anisotropy(FA), apparent diffusion coefficient(ADC), fiber length(FL) measured globally. Results showed that fiber length shows marginal correlation (p=0.086) but FA, ADC and primary eigenvalue showed no correlation to FRS. DTI may provide better sensitivity to detect early cardiac disease than other MR based techniques.

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