Background: Cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging permits early triage of patients presenting to the emergency department with acute chest pain but has been limited by the inability to differentiate new from old myocardial infarction. Our objective was to evaluate a CMR protocol that includes T2-weighted imaging and assessment of left ventricular wall thickness in detecting patients with acute coronary syndrome in the emergency department.
Methods and results: In this prospective cohort observational study, we enrolled patients presenting to the emergency department with acute chest pain, negative cardiac biomarkers, and no ECG changes indicative of acute ischemia. The CMR protocol consisted of T2-weighted imaging, first-pass perfusion, cine function, delayed-enhancement magnetic resonance imaging, and assessment of left ventricular wall thickness. The clinical outcome (acute coronary syndrome) was defined by review of clinical charts by a consensus panel that used American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines. Among 62 patients, 13 developed acute coronary syndrome during the index hospitalization. The mean CMR time was 32+/-8 minutes. The new CMR protocol (with the addition of T2-weighted and left ventricular wall thickness) increased the specificity, positive predictive value, and overall accuracy from 84% to 96%, 55% to 85%, and 84% to 93%, respectively, compared with the conventional CMR protocol (cine, perfusion, and delayed-enhancement magnetic resonance imaging). Moreover, in a logistic regression analysis that contained information on clinical risk assessment (c-statistic=0.695) and traditional cardiac risk factors (c-statistic=0.771), the new CMR protocol significantly improved the c-statistic to 0.958 (P<0.0001).
Conclusions: The present study indicates that a new CMR protocol improves the detection of patients with acute coronary syndrome in the emergency department and adds significant value over clinical assessment and traditional cardiac risk factors.