The sensitivity of contrast-enhanced MR first pass perfusion imaging in detection and quantification of hypoperfused myocardium was evaluated using an instrumented, closed-chest dog model where graded regional hypoperfusion was induced by applying predetermined levels of stenosis to the left anterior descending artery (LAD). All measurements were performed at rest and under stress induced by dipyridamole (DIP). Myocardial perfusion was assessed both with MR and radiolabeled microspheres injected immediately before the administration of the MR contrast agent. Ultrafast MR imaging was performed using a Turbo FLASH sequence with a 180 degrees inversion prepulse. A Gd-DTPA bolus was injected into the left atrium and T1-weighted images were acquired with every heart beat. Signal intensity measured from the images in regions of the LAD and left circumflex (LCx) perfusion beds was plotted against time to generate signal intensity versus time curves (SI time curve). Various flow indices were derived according to the indicator dilution theory, and compared with and without volume correction due to vasodilation to the myocardial blood flow (MBF) calculated from radiolabeled microspheres. Correlation of the MR and MBF data demonstrated that different transmural and regional myocardial perfusion levels can be easily visualized in the perfusion images and accurately monitored by the SI time curves. Detection of the impairment of myocardial perfusion improved significantly after administration of DIP. The inverse mean transit time calculated from the SI time curve was found to yield a linear correlation to absolute MBF derived from the microsphere data. These results suggest that with intracardiac injections of exogenous contrast agent, myocardial perfusion can be assessed parametrically with first pass contrast enhanced ultrafast MRI.