Background: We have developed and validated a system for real-time X-ray fused with magnetic resonance imaging, MRI (XFM), to guide catheter procedures with high spatial precision. Our implementation overlays roadmaps-MRI-derived soft-tissue features of interest-onto conventional X-ray fluoroscopy. We report our initial clinical experience applying XFM, using external fiducial markers, electrocardiogram (ECG)- gating, and automated real-time correction for gantry and table movement.
Methods: This prospective case series for technical development was approved by the NHLBI Institutional Review Board and included 19 subjects. Multimodality external fiducial markers were affixed to patients' skin before MRI, which included contrast-enhanced, 3D T1-weighted, or breath-held and ECG-gated 2D steady state free precession imaging at 1.5T. MRI-derived roadmaps were manually segmented while patients were transferred to a calibrated X-ray fluoroscopy system. Image spaces were registered using the fiducial markers and thereafter permitted unrestricted gantry rotation, table panning, and magnification changes. Static and ECG-gated MRI data were transformed from 3D to 2D to correspond with gantry and table position and combined with live X-ray images.
Results: Clinical procedures included graft coronary arteriography, right ventricular free-wall biopsy, and iliac and femoral artery recanalization and stenting. MRI roadmaps improved operator confidence, and in the biopsy cases, outperformed the best available alternative imaging modality. Registration errors were increased when external fiducial markers were affixed to more mobile skin positions, such as over the abdomen.
Conclusion: XFM using external fiducial markers is feasible during X-ray guided catheter treatments. Multimodality image fusion may prove a useful adjunct to invasive cardiovascular procedures.