BACKGROUND: Self-gated dynamic cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) enables non-invasive visualization of the heart and accurate assessment of cardiac function in mouse models of human disease. However, self-gated CMR requires the acquisition of large datasets to ensure accurate and artifact-free reconstruction of cardiac cines and is therefore hampered by long acquisition times putting high demands on the physiological stability of the animal. For this reason, we evaluated the feasibility of accelerating the data collection using the parallel imaging technique SENSE with respect to both anatomical definition and cardiac function quantification.
RESULTS: Findings obtained from accelerated data sets were compared to fully sampled reference data. Our results revealed only minor differences in image quality of short- and long-axis cardiac cines: small anatomical structures (papillary muscles and the aortic valve) and left-ventricular (LV) remodeling after myocardial infarction (MI) were accurately detected even for 3-fold accelerated data acquisition using a four-element phased array coil. Quantitative analysis of LV cardiac function (end-diastolic volume (EDV), end-systolic volume (ESV), stroke volume (SV), ejection fraction (EF) and LV mass) in healthy and infarcted animals revealed no substantial deviations from reference (fully sampled) data for all investigated acceleration factors with deviations ranging from 2% to 6% in healthy animals and from 2% to 8% in infarcted mice for the highest acceleration factor of 3.0. CNR calculations performed between LV myocardial wall and LV cavity revealed a maximum CNR decrease of 50% for the 3-fold accelerated data acquisition when compared to the fully-sampled acquisition.
CONCLUSIONS: We have demonstrated the feasibility of accelerated self-gated retrospective CMR in mice using the parallel imaging technique SENSE. The proposed method led to considerably reduced acquisition times, while preserving high spatial resolution at sufficiently high CNR. The accuracy of measurements of both structural and functional parameters of the mouse heart was not compromised by the application of the proposed accelerated data acquisition method.