, Volume 3, Issue 5, pp 779-788

Imaging of acute myocardial infarction by magnetic resonance tomography (MRT) using the paramagnetic relaxation substance gadolinium-DTPA

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Twenty-six patients admitted to the Free University of Berlin University Hospital catheterization laboratory with acute myocardial infarction were studied. The diagnosis was confirmed by angiography, but acute revascularization was unsuccessful in every case. MR imaging was performed within 7 days of the acute event in 11 patients with uncomplicated clinical courses after acute infarction. Imaging was performed within 3 weeks in three additional cases, while the remaining 12 patients underwent studies more than 3 weeks after infarction.

We determined signal intensity at three points within the area of infarction and at three other points in adjacent myocardial tissue. Decreased signal intensity within the area of infarction was found in native scans in 60% of all cases. Administration of gadolinium-DTPA 0.1 mmol/kg body weight was followed by a mean 70% increase in signal intensity within the zones of acute infarction, as compared to a 20% increase in surrounding myocardial tissue. In cases of subacute and chronic infarction, there was no significant signal enhancement after administration of gadolinium-DTPA. Uptake of the substance in the area of acute infarction may be a positive marker of acute myocardial necrosis and as such may prove useful in the clinical setting.

This study was supported by the Ministry of Science of the Federal Republic of Germany, No. 01 VF 8521/6. Gadolinium-DTPA was made available by the Schering AG, Berlin.