Gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding causes more than 300 000 hospitalizations per year in the United States. Imaging plays a crucial role in accurately locating the source of the bleed for timely intervention. Magnetic particle imaging (MPI) is an emerging clinically translatable imaging modality that images superparamagnetic iron-oxide (SPIO) tracers with extraordinary contrast and sensitivity. This linearly quantitative modality has zero background tissue signal and zero signal depth attenuation. MPI is also safe: there is zero ionizing radiation exposure to the patient and clinically approved tracers can be used with MPI. In this study, we demonstrate the use of MPI along with long-circulating, PEG-stabilized SPIOs for rapid in vivo detection and quantification of GI bleed. A mouse model genetically predisposed to GI polyp development (ApcMin/+) was used for this study, and heparin was used as an anticoagulant to induce acute GI bleeding. We then injected MPI-tailored, long-circulating SPIOs through the tail vein, and tracked the tracer biodistribution over time using our custom-built high resolution field-free line (FFL) MPI scanner. Dynamic MPI projection images captured tracer accumulation in the lower GI tract with excellent contrast. Quantitative analysis of the MPI images show that the mice experienced GI bleed rates between 1 and 5 μL/min. Although there are currently no human scale MPI systems, and MPI-tailored SPIOs need to undergo further development and evaluation, clinical translation of the technique is achievable. The robust contrast, sensitivity, safety, ability to image anywhere in the body, along with long-circulating SPIOs lends MPI outstanding promise as a clinical diagnostic tool for GI bleeding.
Keywords: blood pool contrast; gastrointestinal bleeding; magnetic particle imaging; medical imaging; superparamagnetic iron-oxide nanoparticles.