Purpose: To compare myocardial T1 against T2 and T2* in patients with thalassemia major (TM) for myocardial iron characterization.
Materials and methods: A total of 106 TM patients (29 ± 10 years; 58 males) were studied on a 1.5 Tesla scanner using dedicated T1, T2*, and T2 relaxometry sequences. A single mid-ventricular short axis slice was acquired within a breath-hold.
Results: In patients with myocardial iron overload (T2* < 20 ms; n = 52), there were linear correlations between T2 and T2* (r = 0.82; P = 0.0), and between T1 and T2* (r = 0.83; P = 0.0). In patients with no myocardial iron (n = 54), T2* values were scattered with no significant correlation against T2 or T1. For all patients (n = 106) there was a strong linear correlation (r = 0.93; P = 0.0) between myocardial T1 and T2.
Conclusion: In patients with iron overload, myocardial T2 and T1 are correlated with T2*. In patients with low or normal myocardial iron concentration, other factors become dominant in affecting T2* values as shown by scattered T2* data. Myocardial T1 correlates linearly with T2 measurements in all patients suggesting that these two relaxation parameters avoid extrinsic magnetic field inhomogeneity effects and may potentially provide improved myocardial tissue characterization.
Keywords: MRI relaxometry; T1; T2; T2*; myocardium; tissue characterization.
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