MRI technology that detects rapid changes in pressure has been found useful in creating detailed images of the heart, making it a helpful support tool for doctors. Researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA), UK, discovered pressure inside the heart is raised when adenosine medication is delivered. Working in alliance with the University of Leeds, UK, the researchers studied 33 patients referred for cardiac MRI. First, imaging was performed while the subject was at rest, and subsequently, imaging took place while they engaged in intense activity following the administration of adenosine.
Hosamadin Assadi, Norwich Medical School, UEA, UK, described: “We used advanced software to measure and study the heart, and we also estimated the pressures inside the heart before and after giving the medication.” They added: “Our study shows that after giving patients adenosine, the heart’s left atrium got bigger really fast, just before the blood flowed out. This is important as it shows that the previously published heart MRI pressure model is adaptable to acute changes in the heart and can be more broadly used to diagnose and monitor heart disease, in particular heart failure.”
The investigation also studied left ventricle filling pressure, which was found to increase while the heart was working hard. Lead researcher Pankaj Garg, Norwich Medical School, UEA, UK, has shown previously that a 4D heart MRI creates detailed flow images of the heart, and this non-invasive imaging technique can measure the peak velocity of blood flow in the heart both accurately and precisely.
The scan takes 6–8 minutes and provides precise imaging of the heart valves, helping doctors determine the best course of treatment for patients. Further large-scale study is warranted on this promising method, as current study size limits this research, but there is great potential for this tool to have population-based screening applications.