CMR Parametric Mapping as a Tool for Myocardial Tissue Characterization.
Ferreira VM., Piechnik SK.
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) is the current gold standard for imaging cardiac anatomy, function, and advanced myocardial tissue characterization. After cine, late gadolinium enhancement (LGE), and perfusion imaging, parametric mapping is widely regarded as the 4th era of myocardial CMR development. In contrast to conventional CMR tissue characterization techniques, which rely on relative variations in image intensities to highlight abnormal tissues, parametric mapping provides direct visualization of tissue MR properties such as T1, T2 and T2* in absolute denominations (e.g. in milliseconds). Presentation as pixel-wise parametric maps adds spatial information for a more complete assessment of the myocardium. Advantages of parametric mapping include direct, quantitative comparisons inter- and within-individuals, as well as detection of diffuse disease not evident on conventional CMR imaging, without the need for contrast agents. CMR parametric mapping methods have matured over the past decade into clinical tools, demonstrating not only clinical utility but added value in a wide range of cardiac diseases. They are particularly useful for the evaluation of acute myocardial injury, suspected infiltration and heart failure of unclear etiology. This review discusses the background of parametric mapping, particularly T1-, T2- and ECV-mapping, general magnetic resonance physics principles, clinical applications (including imaging protocols, image analysis and reporting guidelines), current challenges and future directions. CMR parametric mapping is increasingly available on routine clinical scanners, and promises to deliver advanced myocardial tissue characterization beyond conventional CMR techniques, ultimately helping clinicians to benefit patients in their clinical management.