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BACKGROUND: Novel cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) stress T1 mapping can detect ischemia and myocardial blood volume changes without contrast agents and may be a more comprehensive ischemia biomarker than myocardial blood flow. OBJECTIVES: This study describes the performance of the first prospective validation of stress T1 mapping against invasive coronary measurements for detecting obstructive epicardial coronary artery disease (CAD), defined by fractional flow reserve (FFR <0.8), and coronary microvascular dysfunction, defined by FFR ≥0.8 and the index of microcirculatory resistance (IMR ≥25 U), compared with first-pass perfusion imaging. METHODS: Ninety subjects (60 patients with angina; 30 healthy control subjects) underwent CMR (1.5- and 3-T) to assess left ventricular function (cine), ischemia (adenosine stress/rest T1 mapping and perfusion), and infarction (late gadolinium enhancement). FFR and IMR were assessed ≤7 days post-CMR. Stress and rest images were analyzed blinded to other information. RESULTS: Normal myocardial T1 reactivity (ΔT1) was 6.2 ± 0.4% (1.5-T) and 6.2 ± 1.3% (3-T). Ischemic viable myocardium downstream of obstructive CAD showed near-abolished T1 reactivity (ΔT1 = 0.7 ± 0.7%). Myocardium downstream of nonobstructive coronary arteries with microvascular dysfunction showed less-blunted T1 reactivity (ΔT1 = 3.0 ± 0.9%). Stress T1 mapping significantly outperformed gadolinium-based first-pass perfusion, including absolute quantification of myocardial blood flow, for detecting obstructive CAD (area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve: 0.97 ± 0.02 vs. 0.91 ± 0.03, respectively; p < 0.001). A ΔT1 of 1.5% accurately detected obstructive CAD (sensitivity: 93%; specificity: 95%; p < 0.001), whereas a less-blunted ΔT1 of 4.0% accurately detected microvascular dysfunction (area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve: 0.95 ± 0.03; sensitivity: 94%; specificity: 94%: p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: CMR stress T1 mapping accurately detected and differentiated between obstructive epicardial CAD and microvascular dysfunction, without contrast agents or radiation.

Original publication




Journal article


J Am Coll Cardiol

Publication Date





957 - 968


T1 mapping, adenosine stress, cardiac magnetic resonance, coronary artery disease, myocardial ischemia, Adult, Aged, Angina, Unstable, Coronary Angiography, Coronary Artery Disease, Coronary Circulation, Exercise Test, Female, Gadolinium, Humans, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine, Male, Middle Aged, Pericardium