AUTHORS: Roy CW, Di Sopra L, Whitehead KK, Piccini D, Yerly J, Heerfordt J, Ghosh RM, Fogel MA, Stuber M J

Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance, 24(1): 39, June 2022



Coronary cardiovascular magnetic resonance angiography (CCMRA) of congenital heart disease (CHD) in pediatric patients requires accurate planning, adequate sequence parameter adjustments, lengthy scanning sessions, and significant involvement from highly trained personnel. Anesthesia and intubation are commonplace to minimize movements and control respiration in younger subjects. To address the above concerns and provide a single-click imaging solution, we applied our free-running framework for fully self-gated (SG) free-breathing 5D whole-heart CCMRA to CHD patients after ferumoxytol injection. We tested the hypothesis that spatial and motion resolution suffice to visualize coronary artery ostia in a cohort of CHD subjects, both for intubated and free-breathing acquisitions.


In 18 pediatric CHD patients, non-electrocardiogram (ECG) triggered 5D free-running gradient echo CCMRA with whole-heart 1 mm3 isotropic spatial resolution was performed in seven minutes on a 1.5T CMR scanner. Eleven patients were anesthetized and intubated, while seven were breathing freely without anesthesia. All patients were slowly injected with ferumoxytol (4 mg/kg) over 15 minutes. Cardiac and respiratory motion-resolved 5D images were reconstructed with a fully SG approach. To evaluate the performance of motion resolution, visibility of coronary artery origins was assessed. Intubated and free-breathing patient sub-groups were compared for image quality using coronary artery length and conspicuity as well as lung-liver interface sharpness.


Data collection using the free-running framework was successful in all patients in less than 8 min; scan planning was very simple without the need for parameter adjustments, while no ECG lead placement and triggering was required. From the resulting SG 5D motion-resolved reconstructed images, coronary artery origins could be retrospectively extracted in 90% of the cases. These general findings applied to both intubated and free-breathing pediatric patients (no difference in terms of lung-liver interface sharpness), while image quality and coronary conspicuity between both cohorts was very similar.


A simple-to-use push-button framework for 5D whole-heart CCMRA was successfully employed in pediatric CHD patients with ferumoxytol injection. This approach, working without any external gating and for a wide range of heart rates and body sizes provided excellent definition of cardiac anatomy for both intubated and free-breathing patients.


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