Nonlinear myocardial signal intensity correction improves quantification of contrast-enhanced first-pass MR perfusion in humans.
To study the nonlinearity of myocardial signal intensity and gadolinium contrast concentration during first-pass perfusion MRI, and to compare quantitative perfusion estimates using nonlinear myocardial signal intensity correction. The nonlinearity of signal intensity and contrast concentration was simulated by magnetization modeling and evaluated in phantom measurements. A total of 10 healthy volunteers underwent rest and stress dual-bolus perfusion studies using an echo-planar imaging sequence at both short and long saturation-recovery delay times (TD70 and TD150). Perfusion estimates were compared before and after the correction. The phantom data showed a linear relationship (R(2) = 1.00 and 0.99) of corrected signal intensity vs. contrast concentrations. Peak myocardial contrast concentration averaged 0.64 +/- 0.10 mmol x L(-1) at rest and 0.91 +/- 0.21 mmol x L(-1) during stress for TD70 and were similar for TD150 (P = not significant [NS]). The corrections were larger for stress than rest perfusion and larger for TD150 than TD70 studies (both P < 0.01). Perfusion estimates of TD70 and TD150 stress studies were significantly different before the correction (P < 0.01) but equivalent after the correction (P = NS). The nonlinearity between signal intensity and myocardial contrast concentration in perfusion MRI can be corrected through magnetization modeling. A nonlinear correction of myocardial signal intensity is feasible and improves quantitative perfusion analysis. (c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.