Objectives: To implement myocardial first-pass perfusion imaging at 3 Tesla and to evaluate the potential benefit with regard to signal parameters in comparison to 1.5 Tesla using identical sequence settings and an intraindividual comparison.
Materials and methods: In 16 volunteers, myocardial first-pass perfusion imaging was performed at 1.5 Tesla (Magnetom Avanto) and 3 Tesla (Magnetom TIM Trio) after injection of 0.05 mmol/kg body weight Gadobutrol using an accelerated saturation recovery TurboFLASH technique (GRAPPA; R=2) at 1.5 and 3 Tesla. Detailed sequence parameters (TR 2.3 milliseconds, TE 0.93 milliseconds, flip angle 15 degrees , bandwidth 780 Hz/px) as well as spatial resolution were kept identical for both field strengths. Artifacts were assessed quantitatively and qualitatively, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and contrast enhancement ratio (CER) were calculated from raw data signal intensity-time curves. A linear fit on the upslope was performed for semiquantitative perfusion analysis.
Results: SNR was significantly higher at 3 Tesla than at 1.5 Tesla (35.7+/-11.9 vs. 18.0+/-5.5, P<0.001). CER was significantly greater at 3 Tesla than at 1.5 Tesla (2.2+/-0.9 vs. 1.4+/-0.5, P<0.001). Maximum upslope was significantly higher at 3 Tesla than at 1.5 Tesla (3.3+/-2.4 vs. 2.0+/-1.0, P<0.001). A qualitative examination of all images for artifacts by 2 board-certified radiologists yielded no significant differences between the field strengths.
Conclusions: Three Tesla significantly improves CER and SNR compared with 1.5 Tesla with identical sequence parameters. In addition, the most important semiquantitative perfusion parameter maximum upslope is significantly increased. This may allow for an improvement of spatial resolution and potentially for a better delineation of perfusion defects. However, further studies are necessary to potentially demonstrate a benefit of 3 Tesla perfusion imaging in a clinical setting.