Black-blood Steady-State Free Precession (SSFP) coronary wall MRI for cardiac allografts: A feasibility study

Kai Lin, Xiaoming Bi, Ying Liu, Kirsi Taimen, Biao Lu, Debiao Li, James Carr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: To assess the hypothesis that steady-state free procession (SSFP) allows for imaging of the coronary wall under the conditions of fast heart rate in heart transplantation (HTx) patients. Materials and Methods: With the approval of our Institutional Review Board, 28 HTx patients were scanned with a 1.5T scanner. Cross-sectional black-blood images of the proximal portions of the left main artery, left anterior descending artery, and right coronary artery were acquired with both a 2D, double inversion recovery (DIR) prepared turbo (fast) spin echo (TSE) sequence and a 2D DIR SSFP sequence. Image quality (scored 0-3), vessel wall area, thickness, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR, vessel wall), and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR, wall-lumen) were compared between TSE and SSFP. Results: The overall image quality of SSFP was higher than TSE (1.23 ± 0.95 vs. 0.88 ± 0.69, P < 0.001). SSFP had a higher coronary wall SNR (20.1 ± 8.5 vs. 14.9 ± 4.8, P < 0.001) and wall-lumen CNR (8.2 ± 4.6 vs. 6.8 ± 3.7, P = 0.005) than TSE. Conclusion: Black-blood SSFP coronary wall MRI provides higher image quality, SNR, and CNR than traditional TSE does in HTx recipients. It has the potential to become an alternative means to noninvasive imaging of cardiac allografts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1210-1215
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Coronary wall MRI
  • Heart transplantation
  • Steady state free precession

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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