Cardiac magnetic resonance versus transthoracic echocardiography for the assessment of cardiac volumes and regional function after myocardial infarction: an intrasubject comparison using simultaneous intrasubject recordings

Cardiovasc Ultrasound. 2009 Aug 18;7:38. doi: 10.1186/1476-7120-7-38.


Background: Although echocardiography is commonly used to evaluate cardiac function after MI, CMR may provide more accurate functional assessment but has not been adequately compared with echo. The primary study objective was to compare metrics of left ventricular volumes and global and regional function determined by cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) and echocardiography (echo) in patients (pts) with recent myocardial infarction (MI).

Methods: To compare CMR with echo, 47 consecutive patients (pts 70% male; mean age = 66 +/- 11 years) with MI >6 wks previously and scheduled for imaging evaluation were studied by both echo and CMR within 60 min of each other. Readers were blinded to pt information. Pearson's correlation coefficient, paired t-tests, and chi-square tests were used to compare CMR and echo measures. Further comparisons were made between pts and 30 normal controls for CMR and between pts and published normal ranges for echo.

Results: Measures of volume and function correlated moderately well between CMR and echo (r = 0.54 to 0.75, all p < 0.001), but large and systematic differences were noted in absolute measurements. Echo underestimated left ventricular (LV) volumes (by 69 ml for end-diastolic, 35 ml for end-systolic volume, both p < 0.001), stroke volume (by 34 ml, p < 0.001), and LV ejection fraction (LVEF) (by 4 percentage point, p = 0.02). CMR was much more sensitive to detection of segmental wall motion abnormalities (p < 0.001). CMR comparisons with normal controls confirmed an increase in LV volumes, a decrease in LVEF, and preservation of stroke volume after MI.

Conclusion: This intra subject comparison after MI found large, systematic differences between CMR and echo measures of volumes, LVEF, and wall motion abnormality despite moderate inter-modality correlations, with echo underestimating each metric. CMR also provided superior detection and quantification of segmental function after MI. Serial studies of LV function in individual patients should use the same modality.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Cardiac Volume*
  • Echocardiography / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine / methods*
  • Male
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity