Emerging methods for the characterization of ischemic heart disease: ultrafast Doppler angiography, micro-CT, photon-counting CT, novel MRI and PET techniques, and artificial intelligence

Eur Radiol Exp. 2021 Mar 25;5(1):12. doi: 10.1186/s41747-021-00207-3.


After an ischemic event, disruptive changes in the healthy myocardium may gradually develop and may ultimately turn into fibrotic scar. While these structural changes have been described by conventional imaging modalities mostly on a macroscopic scale-i.e., late gadolinium enhancement at magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-in recent years, novel imaging methods have shown the potential to unveil an even more detailed picture of the postischemic myocardial phenomena. These new methods may bring advances in the understanding of ischemic heart disease with potential major changes in the current clinical practice. In this review article, we provide an overview of the emerging methods for the non-invasive characterization of ischemic heart disease, including coronary ultrafast Doppler angiography, photon-counting computed tomography (CT), micro-CT (for preclinical studies), low-field and ultrahigh-field MRI, and 11C-methionine positron emission tomography. In addition, we discuss new opportunities brought by artificial intelligence, while addressing promising future scenarios and the challenges for the application of artificial intelligence in the field of cardiac imaging.

Keywords: Artificial intelligence; Coronary artery disease; Myocardial infarction; Myocardial ischemia; Radiology.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Angiography
  • Artificial Intelligence*
  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Myocardial Ischemia* / diagnostic imaging
  • Positron-Emission Tomography
  • X-Ray Microtomography


  • Contrast Media
  • Gadolinium