Characterization of acute myocardial infarction by magnetic resonance imaging

Donald L. Johnston, Richard E. Wendt, Sharon L. Mulvagh, Howard Stanton Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The T2-weighted spin-echo technique is currently the most frequently used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method to visualize acute myocardial infarction. However, image quality is often degraded by ghost artifacts from blood flow, and respiratory and cardiac contractile motion. To enhance the usefulness of this technique for detailed characterization of infarction, a velocity-compensated spin-echo pulse sequence was tested by imaging a flow phantom, 6 normal subjects and 17 patients with acute myocardial infarction. After preliminary studies were performed in 7 patients to determine optimal imaging parameters, a standardized imaging protocol was used in the next 10. The location of myocardial infarction identified by the electrocardiogram and coronary anatomy was correctly identified in 10 of 10 patients. Distribution of the injury within the left ventricle was clearly visualized, and showed that patients often had a mixture of transmural and nontransmural injury. Heterogenous distribution of signal intensity within the infarction suggested the presence of hemorrhage. Papillary muscle involvement was readily apparent. Signal intensity of the infarction (brightest segment) was increased by 89 ± 31% compared with the mean of the remote segments. The myocardial/skeletal muscle ratio was significantly (p < 0.001) increased for the infarction segments compared with that for remote myocardium, allowing quantitative analysis of segmental signal intensity. The MRI wall motion study obtained as part of this protocol demonstrated wall thickening in 58% of the infarction segments and in 6 of 10 patients. This finding suggested the presence of reversibly injured myocardium. In conclusion, the results demonstrate the potential of MRI for detailed tissue characterization after acute myocardial infarction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1291-1295
Number of pages5
JournalThe American Journal of Cardiology
Issue number16
StatePublished - May 15 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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