Native T1 in discrimination of acute and convalescent stages in patients with clinical diagnosis of myocarditis: a proposed diagnostic algorithm using CMR

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2015 Jan;8(1):37-46. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2014.07.016. Epub 2014 Dec 10.


Objectives: This study investigated whether T1 mapping by cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) reflects the clinical evolution of disease in myocarditis and supports its diagnosis independently of the disease stages.

Background: Acute viral myocarditis is characterized by a range of intracellular changes due to viral replication and extracellular spill of debris within days of viral infection. Convalescence may be characterized by a chronic low-grade inflammation leading to ventricular remodelling, but also a complete resolution of myocardial changes.

Methods: Patients with clinical diagnosis of viral myocarditis (N = 165) underwent routine clinical CMR protocol (1.5- and 3.0-T) for assessment of cardiac function and structure, and tissue characterization with T2-weighted imaging and late gadolinium enhancement. T1 mapping was obtained in a mid-ventricular short-axis slice before and >20 min after administration of 0.2 mmol/kg of gadobutrol.

Results: Compared with control subjects (n = 40), T1 indexes were increased in patients with myocarditis. Patients with acute symptoms (n = 61) had higher values of T1 indexes compared with patients in clinical convalescence (n = 67). Native T1 is an independent discriminator between health and disease, as well as a discriminator between acute and convalescent stage of the disease. Native T1- was superior to T2-weighted imaging and late gadolinium enhancement with high diagnostic accuracy and positive and negative predictive values. Using pre-defined cutoff values for normal ranges, we demonstrated that acute myocarditis can be independently identified by native T1 of >5 SD above the mean of normal range, whereas convalescence is best defined by either abnormal native T1 (>2 SD) or presence of late gadolinium enhancement. We prospectively tested a new diagnostic algorithm in an independent dataset of patients with clinical diagnosis of myocarditis and achieved similar diagnostic performance.

Conclusions: The new diagnostic algorithm using native T1 can reliably discriminate between health and disease and determine the clinical disease stage in patients with a clinical diagnosis of myocarditis.

Keywords: T1 mapping; cardiac magnetic resonance; myocarditis; native T1.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Myocarditis / diagnosis*
  • Myocardium
  • Prospective Studies
  • Virus Diseases / diagnosis