Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Heart Image quality, measurement accuracy and patient experience
Abstract: Background: Non-invasive diagnostic imaging of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease (CAD) is frequently carried out with cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) or myocardial perfusion single photon emission computed tomography (MPS). CMR is the gold standard for the evaluation of scar after myocardial infarction and MPS the clinical gold standard for ischemia. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is at times difficult for patients and may induce anxiety while patient experience of MPS is largely unknown.Aims: To evaluate image quality in CMR with respect to the sequences employed, the influence of atrial fibrillation, myocardial perfusion and the impact of patient information. Further, to study patient experience in relation to MRI with the goal of improving the care of these patients.Method: Four study designs have been used. In paper I, experimental cross-over, paper (II) experimental controlled clinical trial, paper (III) psychometric crosssectional study and paper (IV) prospective intervention study. A total of 475 patients ≥ 18 years with primarily cardiac problems (I-IV) except for those referred for MRI of the spine (III) were included in the four studies.Result: In patients (n=20) with atrial fibrillation, a single shot steady state free precession (SS-SSFP) sequence showed significantly better image quality than the standard segmented inversion recovery fast gradient echo (IR-FGRE) sequence (I). In first-pass perfusion imaging the gradient echo-echo planar imaging sequence (GREEPI) (n=30) had lower signal-to-noise and contrast–to-noise ratios than the steady state free precession sequence (SSFP) (n=30) but displayed a higher correlation with the MPS results, evaluated both qualitatively and quantitatively (II). The MRIAnxiety Questionnaire (MRI-AQ) was validated on patients, referred for MRI of either the spine (n=193) or the heart (n=54). The final instrument had 15 items divided in two factors regarding Anxiety and Relaxation. The instrument was found to have satisfactory psychometric properties (III). Patients who prior CMR viewed an information video scored significantly (lower) better in the factor Relaxation, than those who received standard information. Patients who underwent MPS scored lower on both factors, Anxiety and Relaxation. The extra video information had no effect on CMR image quality (IV).Conclusion: Single shot imaging in atrial fibrillation produced images with less artefact than a segmented sequence. In first-pass perfusion imaging, the sequence GRE-EPI was superior to SSFP. A questionnaire depicting anxiety during MRI showed that video information prior to imaging helped patients relax but did not result in an improvement in image quality.
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