Imaging Interstitial Fibrosis, Left Ventricular Remodeling, and Function in Stage A and B Heart Failure

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2021 May;14(5):1038-1052. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2020.05.036. Epub 2020 Aug 19.


Myocardial interstitial fibrosis is part of the advanced disease stage of most cardiovascular pathologies. It has been characterized histologically in various disease settings from hypertensive heart disease and diabetic cardiomyopathy to severe aortic stenosis. It is also involved in the process of aging. In cardiovascular medicine, myocardial interstitial fibrosis is associated with several adverse outcomes, especially heart failure (HF) and sudden cardiac death. Until recently, clinical measures of interstitial fibrosis could only be made by invasive myocardial biopsy. The availability of cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) T1 mapping techniques allows for the indirect measurement of interstitial space characteristics and extracellular volume size, which is closely correlated with collagen content and interstitial infiltration by amyloid and other molecules. There has been significant improvement in the accuracy and reproducibility of T1 acquisition sequences in the last decade; however, the correct use of this technique requires a solid CMR expertise in daily imaging practice. CMR has become the gold standard to assess left ventricular (LV) remodeling and functional features associated with interstitial fibrosis. These features can be detected in the early stages of HF. The main objective of this paper is to review the relevant results of preclinical and clinical observational studies that demonstrate the prognostic impact of interstitial fibrosis assessed by T1 mapping, as well as adverse left ventricular remodeling, as determinants of HF. Therefore, this review focuses on the pathological mechanisms underlying LV remodeling and interstitial fibrosis, in addition to the technical considerations involved in the assessment of interstitial LV fibrosis by CMR. It provides a thorough review of clinical evidence that demonstrates the association of interstitial fibrosis and other-CMR derived LV phenotypes with Stages A and B HF.

Keywords: T1 mapping; cardiovascular risk factors; heart failure; interstitial fibrosis; left ventricular remodeling.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetic Cardiomyopathies*
  • Fibrosis
  • Heart Failure* / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Failure* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Ventricular Remodeling