Detection and prediction of acute heart transplant rejection with the myocardial T2 determination provided by a black-blood magnetic resonance imaging sequence

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2001 Mar 1;37(3):825-31. doi: 10.1016/s0735-1097(00)01196-7.


Objectives: This study aimed to determine whether the myocardial T2 relaxation time, determined using a black-blood magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) sequence, could predict acute heart transplant rejection.

Background: The use of black-blood MRI sequences allows suppression of the confusing influence of blood signal when myocardial T2 is calculated to detect myocardial edema.

Methods: A total of 123 investigations, including cardiac MRI and myocardial biopsy, were performed 8 +/- 11 months after heart transplantation. Myocardial T2 was determined using an original inversion-recovery/spin-echo sequence.

Results: A higher than normal T2 (> or = 56 ms) allowed an accurate detection of the moderate acute rejections evidenced at baseline biopsy (> or = International Society for Heart and Lung Transplantation grade 2): sensitivity, 89% and specificity, 70% (p < 0.0001). T2 was increased in grade 2 (n = 11) compared with grade 0 (n = 49, p < 0.05), grade 1A (n = 34, p < 0.05) and grade 1B (n = 21, p < 0.05); T2 was further increased in grade 3 (n = 8) compared with grade 2 (p < 0.05). In addition, in patients without rejection equal to or greater than grade 2 at baseline, a T2 higher than normal (> or = 56 ms) was correlated with the subsequent occurrence of equal or greater than grade 2 rejection within the next three months: sensitivity 63% (12/19) and specificity 78% (64/82) (p = 0.001).

Conclusions: Myocardial T2 determined using a black-blood MRI sequence, is sufficiently sensitive to identify most of the moderate acute rejections documented with biopsy at the same time, but is also a predictor of the subsequent occurrence of such biopsy-defined rejections.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Echocardiography, Doppler
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / diagnosis*
  • Heart Transplantation / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Transplantation / immunology
  • Heart Transplantation / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged