Objectives: The purpose of this study was to evaluate a myocardial perfusion reserve index (MPRI) derived from a quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique in normal human volunteers and patients with coronary artery disease and to relate MPRI to coronary artery stenosis severity measured with quantitative arteriography.
Background: Magnetic resonance imaging could be a useful noninvasive tool in the investigation of ischemic heart disease. However, there have been few studies in humans to quantify myocardial perfusion and myocardial perfusion reserve using MRI and none in patients with coronary disease.
Methods: Twenty patients with angiographically proven coronary artery disease and five normal volunteers underwent both resting and stress (adenosine 140 microg/kg(-1)/min(-1)) first-pass contrast-enhanced MRI examinations (using 0.05 mmol/kg 1 of gadopentetate dimeglumine. Using a tracer kinetic model, the unidirectional transfer constant (K(i)), a perfusion marker for the myocardial uptake of contrast, was computed in each coronary arterial territory. The ratio of K(i) for the rest and stress scans was used to calculate the MPRI. Percent reduction in luminal diameter of coronary lesions was measured using an automated edge-detection algorithm.
Results: Myocardial perfusion reserve index was significantly reduced in patients compared with normal subjects (2.02+/-0.7 vs. 4.21+/-1.16, p < 0.02). For regions supplied by individual vessels, there was a significant negative correlation of MPRI with percent diameter stenosis (r = -0.81, p < 0.01). Importantly, regions supplied by vessels with <40% diameter stenosis (non-flow limiting) had a significantly higher MPRI than regions supplied by stenoses of "intermediate" severity, that is, >40% to 59% diameter stenosis (2.80+/-0.77 and 1.93+/-0.38, respectively, p < 0.02). However, even regions supplied by vessels with <40% diameter stenosis had a significantly lower MPRI than volunteers (p < 0.01).
Conclusions: A myocardial perfusion reserve index derived from first-pass MRI studies can distinguish between normal subjects and patients with coronary artery disease. Furthermore, it provides useful functional information on coronary lesions, particularly where the physiologic significance cannot be predicted accurately from the angiogram.