The feasibility of absolute myocardial blood flow quantification and suitability of hyperpolarized [1-13C] pyruvate as contrast agent for first-pass cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) perfusion measurements are investigated with simulations and demonstrated in vivo in a swine model.
A versatile simulation framework for hyperpolarized CMR subject to physical, physiological and technical constraints was developed and applied to investigate experimental conditions for accurate perfusion CMR with hyperpolarized [1-13C] pyruvate. Absolute and semi-quantitative perfusion indices were analyzed with respect to experimental parameter variations and different signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) levels. Absolute myocardial blood flow quantification was implemented with an iterative deconvolution approach based on Fermi functions. To demonstrate in vivo feasibility, velocity-selective excitation with an echo-planar imaging readout was used to acquire dynamic myocardial stress perfusion images in four healthy swine. Arterial input functions were extracted from an additional image slice with conventional excitation that was acquired within the same heartbeat.
Simulations suggest that obtainable SNR and B0 inhomogeneity in vivo are sufficient for the determination of absolute and semi-quantitative perfusion with ≤25% error. It is shown that for expected metabolic conversion rates, metabolic conversion of pyruvate can be neglected over the short duration of acquisition in first-pass perfusion CMR. In vivo measurements suggest that absolute myocardial blood flow quantification using hyperpolarized [1-13C] pyruvate is feasible with an intra-myocardial variability comparable to semi-quantitative perfusion indices.
The feasibility of quantitative hyperpolarized first-pass perfusion CMR using [1-13C] pyruvate has been investigated in simulations and demonstrated in swine. Using an approved and metabolically active compound is envisioned to increase the value of hyperpolarized perfusion CMR in patients.