Background: Parametric mapping sequences in cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) allow for non-invasive myocardial tissue characterization. However quantitative myocardial mapping is still limited by the need for local reference values. Confounders, such as field strength, vendors and sequences, make intersite comparisons challenging. This exploratory study aims to assess whether multi-site studies that control confounding factors provide first insights whether parametric mapping values are within pre-defined tolerance ranges across scanners and sites.
Methods: A cohort of 20 healthy travelling volunteers was prospectively scanned at three sites with a 3 T scanner from the same vendor using the same scanning protocol and acquisition scheme. A Modified Look-Locker inversion recovery sequence (MOLLI) for T1 and a fast low-angle shot sequence (FLASH) for T2 were used. At one site a scan-rescan was performed to assess the intra-scanner reproducibility. All acquired T1- and T2-mappings were analyzed in a core laboratory using the same post-processing approach and software.
Results: After exclusion of one volunteer due to an accidentally diagnosed cardiac disease, T1- and T2-maps of 19 volunteers showed no significant differences between the 3 T sites (mean ± SD [95% confidence interval] for global T1 in ms: site I: 1207 ± 32 [1192-1222]; site II: 1207 ± 40 [1184-1225]; site III: 1219 ± 26 [1207-1232]; p = 0.067; for global T2 in ms: site I: 40 ± 2 [39-41]; site II: 40 ± 1 [39-41]; site III 39 ± 2 [39-41]; p = 0.543).
Conclusion: Parametric mapping results displayed initial hints at a sufficient similarity between sites when confounders, such as field strength, vendor diversity, acquisition schemes and post-processing analysis are harmonized. This finding needs to be confirmed in a powered clinical trial. Trial registration ISRCTN14627679 (retrospectively registered).
Keywords: Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Parametric mapping; Post-processing; Reproducibility; Validation.
© 2023. Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance.