Cardiovascular magnetic resonance of myocardial edema using a short inversion time inversion recovery (STIR) black-blood technique: Diagnostic accuracy of visual and semi-quantitative assessment
The short inversion time inversion recovery (STIR) black-blood technique has been used to visualize myocardial edema, and thus to differentiate acute from chronic myocardial lesions. However, some cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) groups have reported variable image quality, and hence the diagnostic value of STIR in routine clinical practice has been put into question. The aim of our study was to analyze image quality and diagnostic performance of STIR using a set of pulse sequence parameters dedicated to edema detection, and to discuss possible factors that influence image quality. We hypothesized that STIR imaging is an accurate and robust way of detecting myocardial edema in non-selected patients with acute myocardial infarction.
Forty-six consecutive patients with acute myocardial infarction underwent CMR (day 4.5, +/- 1.6) including STIR for the assessment of myocardial edema and late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) for quantification of myocardial necrosis. Thirty of these patients underwent a follow-up CMR at approximately six months (195 +/- 39 days). Both STIR and LGE images were evaluated separately on a segmental basis for image quality as well as for presence and extent of myocardial hyper-intensity, with both visual and semi-quantitative (threshold-based) analysis. LGE was used as a reference standard for localization and extent of myocardial necrosis (acute) or scar (chronic).
Image quality of STIR images was rated as diagnostic in 99.5% of cases. At the acute stage, the sensitivity and specificity of STIR to detect infarcted segments on visual assessment was 95% and 78% respectively, and on semi-quantitative assessment was 99% and 83%, respectively. STIR differentiated acutely from chronically infarcted segments with a sensitivity of 95% by both methods and with a specificity of 99% by visual assessment and 97% by semi-quantitative assessment. The extent of hyper-intense areas on acute STIR images was 85% larger than those on LGE images, with a larger myocardial salvage index in reperfused than in non-reperfused infarcts (p = 0.035).
STIR with appropriate pulse sequence settings is accurate in detecting acute myocardial infarction (MI) and distinguishing acute from chronic MI with both visual and semi-quantitative analysis. Due to its unique technical characteristics, STIR should be regarded as an edema-weighted rather than a purely T2-weighted technique.
Labels: black-blood technique, Cardiovascular magnetic resonance, myocardial edema, myocardial hyper-intensity, myocardial infarction, myocardial lesions, myocardial salvage