Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) is considered an attractive alternative for guiding transarterial aortic valve implantation (TAVI) featuring unlimited scan plane orientation and unsurpassed soft-tissue contrast with simultaneous device visualization. We sought to evaluate the CMR characteristics of both currently commercially available transcatheter heart valves (Edwards SAPIEN™, Medtronic CoreValve ®) including their dedicated delivery devices and of a custom-built, CMR-compatible delivery device for the Medtronic CoreValve ® prosthesis as an initial step towards real-time CMR-guided TAVI.
The devices were systematically examined in phantom models on a 1.5-Tesla scanner using high-resolution T 1-weighted 3D FLASH, real-time TrueFISP and flow-sensitive phase-contrast sequences. Images were analyzed for device visualization quality, device-related susceptibility artifacts, and radiofrequency signal shielding.
CMR revealed major susceptibility artifacts for the two commercial delivery devices caused by considerable metal braiding and precluding in vivo application. The stainless steel-based Edwards SAPIEN™ prosthesis was also regarded not suitable for CMR-guided TAVI due to susceptibility artifacts exceeding the valve's dimensions and hindering an exact placement. In contrast, the nitinol-based Medtronic CoreValve ® prosthesis was excellently visualized with delineation even of small details and, thus, regarded suitable for CMR-guided TAVI, particularly since reengineering of its delivery device toward CMR-compatibility resulted in artifact elimination and excellent visualization during catheter movement and valve deployment on real-time TrueFISP imaging. Reliable flow measurements could be performed for both stent-valves after deployment using phase-contrast sequences.