Magnetic resonance versus radionuclide pharmacological stress perfusion imaging for flow-limiting stenoses of varying severity

Daniel C. Lee, Orlando P. Simonetti, Kathleen R. Harris, Thomas A. Holly, Robert M. Judd, Edwin Wu, Francis J. Klocke*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Background - Although magnetic resonance first-pass imaging (MRFP) has potential advantages in pharmacological stress perfusion imaging, direct comparisons of current MRFP and established radionuclide techniques are not available. Methods and Results - Graded regional differences in coronary flow were produced during global coronary vasodilation in chronically instrumented dogs by partially occluding the left circumflex artery. Regional differences in full-thickness flow quantified using microspheres were compared with regional differences obtained with MRFP and radionuclide SPECT imaging ( 99mTc-sestamibi and 201Tl). Relative regional flows (RRFs) derived from the initial areas under MRFP signal intensity-time curves were linearly related to reference microsphere RRFs over the full range of vasodilation (y=0.93x+4.3; r2=0.77). Relationships between 99mTc-sestamibi and 201Tl RRFs and microsphere RRFs were curvilinear, plateauing as flows increased. The high spatial resolution of the MRI enabled transmural flow to be evaluated in 3 to 5 layers across the myocardial wall. Reductions in subendocardial flow were visually apparent in MRFP images for ≥50% reductions in full-thickness flow. Endocardial-to- epicardial gradients in MRFP flow increased progressively with stenosis severity, whereas transmural flow patterns in remote normally perfused myocardium remained normal. Flow reductions of ≥50% not identified by radionuclide imaging were apparent in MRFP full-thickness and transmural analyses. Conclusions - High-resolution MRFP can identify regional reductions in full-thickness myocardial blood flow during global coronary vasodilation over a wider range than current SPECT imaging. Transmural flow gradients can also be identified; their magnitude increases progressively as flow limitations become more severe and endocardial flow is compromised increasingly.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-65
Number of pages8
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 6 2004


  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Regional blood flow
  • Scintigraphy
  • Vasodilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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