Investigation of a simple, precision optimized, identical pre-/post-contrast modified look locker inversion recovery (MOLLI) protocol employing Composite inversion group (IG) fitting in a clinical cardiomyopathy population.
Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed at 3 Tesla in 36 patients (48.0 years [IQR: 35.7, 58.2 years]) with known/suspicion of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. T1 mapping was performed pre-/post-contrast (0.15 mmol/kg Gadobutrol) using a standard 3-parameter fit (STANDARD) and an optimized (OPTIMAL) single-protocol Composite-IG fitting MOLLI approach. The OPTIMAL protocol was based on a simulation study (for 11hb acquisitions) with cost metric analysis across the range of expected T1 values (300-1400 ms) and heart rates (50-80 bpm). All maps were generated offline based on motion corrected source images. Based on region of interest analysis, the precision of both approaches was assessed using a previously validated propagation of errors technique for pre-/post-contrast T1 mapping as well as calculated ECV (based on point-of care hematocrit measurements. Furthermore, respective T1 and ECV values were calculated. Statistical methods included Wilcoxon Signed-Rank tests and Student’s paired t-test.
A total of ~9000 11hb inversion groupings were simulated with a 4(0)2(0)2(0)2(0)1 grouping providing the optimal precision across the specified T1/heart rate range. In comparison to standard pre-contrast 5(3)3 MOLLI, this OPTIMAL protocol demonstrated a significantly improved pre-contrast precision (9.1 [6.2, 9.9]ms vs. 9.4 [7.3, 10.8]ms; P < 0.001) while no significant differences were found for post-contrast T1 mapping (4.5 [2.6, 5.3]ms vs. 4.2 [2.8, 5.1]ms; P = 0.25) and EVC mapping (0.38 [0.28, 0.45]ms vs. 0.35 [0.25, 0.44]ms; P = 0.07) or reproducibility (0.16 [0.14, 0.19] vs. 0.19 [0.13, 0.23]P = 0.53). Direct comparison of resulting T1/ECV values demonstrated no significant differences between STANDARD and OPTIMAL techniques for pre-contrast T1 (1178 [1158, 1199]ms vs. 1173 [1143, 1195]ms; P = 0.46) and significant differences for post-contrast T1 (466 [446, 506]ms vs. 456 [433, 503]ms; P = 0.04) and ECV (23.1 [20.8, 25.1]% vs. 23.9 [22.3, 26.4]%; P = 0.001).
A single optimized Composite-IG fitting protocol for pre-/post-contrast T1 mapping demonstrated improved precision over standard MOLLI techniques. It enables a simplified workflow with reduction of potential sources of error especially with respect to image data co-registration easing advanced post-processing for generation of patient specific ECV maps.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.