12 May 2018
Cardiac PET-MR has shown potential for the comprehensive assessment of coronary heart disease. However, image degradation due to physiological motion remains a challenge that could hinder the adoption of this technology in clinical practice. The purpose of this study was to validate a recently proposed respiratory motion-corrected PET-MR framework for the simultaneous visualisation of myocardial viability ( 18F-FDG PET) and coronary artery anatomy (coronary MR angiography, CMRA) in patients with chronic total occlusion (CTO).
A cohort of 14 patients was scanned with the proposed PET-CMRA framework. PET and CMRA images were reconstructed with and without the proposed motion correction approach for comparison purposes. Metrics of image quality including visible vessel length and sharpness were obtained for CMRA for both the right and left anterior descending coronary arteries (RCA, LAD), and relative increase in 18F-FDG PET signal after motion correction for standard 17-segment polar maps was computed. Resulting coronary anatomy by CMRA and myocardial integrity by PET were visually compared against X-ray angiography and conventional Late Gadolinium Enhancement (LGE) MRI, respectively.
Motion correction increased CMRA visible vessel length by 49.9% and 32.6% (RCA, LAD) and vessel sharpness by 12.3% and 18.9% (RCA, LAD) on average compared to uncorrected images. Coronary lumen delineation on motion-corrected CMRA images was in good agreement with X-ray angiography findings. For PET, motion correction resulted in an average 8% increase in 18F-FDG signal in the inferior and inferolateral segments of the myocardial wall. An improved delineation of myocardial viability defects and reduced noise in the 18F-FDG PET images was observed, improving correspondence to subendocardial LGE-MRI findings compared to uncorrected images.
The feasibility of the PET-CMRA framework for simultaneous cardiac PET-MR imaging in a short and predictable scan time (~11 min) has been demonstrated in 14 patients with CTO. Motion correction increased visible length and sharpness of the coronary arteries by CMRA, and improved delineation of the myocardium by 18F-FDG PET, resulting in good agreement with X-ray angiography and LGE-MRI.