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Heart failure demographics have evolved in past decades with the development of improved diagnostics, therapies, and prevention. Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) has developed in a similar timeframe to become the gold-standard non-invasive imaging modality for characterizing diseases causing heart failure. CMR techniques to assess cardiac morphology and function have progressed since their first use in the 1980s. Increasingly efficient acquisition protocols generate high spatial and temporal resolution images in less time. This has enabled new methods of characterizing cardiac systolic and diastolic function such as strain analysis, exercise real-time cine imaging and four-dimensional flow. A key strength of CMR is its ability to non-invasively interrogate the myocardial tissue composition. Gadolinium contrast agents revolutionized non-invasive cardiac imaging with the late gadolinium enhancement technique. Further advances enabled quantitative parametric mapping to increase sensitivity at detecting diffuse pathology. Novel methods such as diffusion tensor imaging and artificial intelligence-enhanced image generation are on the horizon. Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) provides a window into the molecular environment of the myocardium. Phosphorus (31P) spectroscopy can inform the status of cardiac energetics in health and disease. Proton (1H) spectroscopy complements this by measuring creatine and intramyocardial lipids. Hyperpolarized carbon (13C) spectroscopy is a novel method that could further our understanding of dynamic cardiac metabolism. CMR of other organs such as the lungs may add further depth into phenotypes of heart failure. The vast capabilities of CMR should be deployed and interpreted in context of current heart failure challenges.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging

Publication Date





1302 - 1317


cardiac magnetic resonance, heart failure, phenotyping, spectroscopy, tissue characterization, Humans, Artificial Intelligence, Contrast Media, Diffusion Tensor Imaging, Gadolinium, Heart Failure, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine, Myocardium, Predictive Value of Tests