Magnetic resonance myocardial T1ρ mapping : Technical overview, challenges, emerging developments, and clinical applications

J Cardiovasc Magn Reson. 2023 Jun 19;25(1):34. doi: 10.1186/s12968-023-00940-1.


The potential of cardiac magnetic resonance to improve cardiovascular care and patient management is considerable. Myocardial T1-rho (T1ρ) mapping, in particular, has emerged as a promising biomarker for quantifying myocardial injuries without exogenous contrast agents. Its potential as a contrast-agent-free ("needle-free") and cost-effective diagnostic marker promises high impact both in terms of clinical outcomes and patient comfort. However, myocardial T1ρ mapping is still at a nascent stage of development and the evidence supporting its diagnostic performance and clinical effectiveness is scant, though likely to change with technological improvements. The present review aims at providing a primer on the essentials of myocardial T1ρ mapping, and to describe the current range of clinical applications of the technique to detect and quantify myocardial injuries. We also delineate the important limitations and challenges for clinical deployment, including the urgent need for standardization, the evaluation of bias, and the critical importance of clinical testing. We conclude by outlining technical developments to be expected in the future. If needle-free myocardial T1ρ mapping is shown to improve patient diagnosis and prognosis, and can be effectively integrated in cardiovascular practice, it will fulfill its potential as an essential component of a cardiac magnetic resonance examination.

Keywords: CMR; Cardiac; Magnetic resonance imaging; Mapping; T1-rho.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Contrast Media
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Myocardial Infarction* / pathology
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Predictive Value of Tests


  • Contrast Media