Hybrid PET/MR imaging is an emerging imaging modality combining positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the same system. Since the introduction of clinical PET/MRI in 2011, it has had some impact (e.g., imaging the components of inflammation in myocardial infarction), but its role could be much greater. Many opportunities remain unexplored and will be highlighted in this review. The inflammatory process post-myocardial infarction has many facets at a cellular level which may affect the outcome of the patient, specifically the effects on adverse left ventricular remodeling, and ultimately prognosis. The goal of inflammation imaging is to track the process non-invasively and quantitatively to determine the best therapeutic options for intervention and to monitor those therapies. While PET and MRI, acquired separately, can image aspects of inflammation, hybrid PET/MRI has the potential to advance imaging of myocardial inflammation. This review contains a description of hybrid PET/MRI, its application to inflammation imaging in myocardial infarction and the challenges, constraints, and opportunities in designing data collection protocols. Finally, this review explores opportunities in PET/MRI: improved registration, partial volume correction, machine learning, new approaches in the development of PET and MRI pulse sequences, and the use of novel injection strategies.
Keywords: MRI; Myocardial biology; PET; hybrid imaging; inflammation; myocardial ischemia and infarction.