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July 1, 2021

Philips and Spanish CNIC to develop cardiac MR imaging protocol

The latest ultra-fast technique aids in viewing heart anatomy and function from various angles with improved image quality.

Royal Philips has collaborated with Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) to conduct a research project for creating a new cardiac magnetic resonance (MR) imaging technique.

Named ‘Enhanced SENSE by Static Outer-volume Subtraction (ESSOS), the new method leverages the fact that, except the beating heart, everything in a patient’s chest is static during a breath-hold.

On capturing an initial image of the static part or the outer volume, this MRI data is temporarily separated.

The beating heart’s MRI signal can then be removed from ensuing scan data to obtain a three-dimensional (3D) image of the heart up to four times quicker than conventional scans. This offers a net acceleration factor of up to 32.

After reconstructing the dynamic information of the beating heart, the static outer volume images are added again to deliver a complete 3D cardiac image of heart anatomy and its function.

This ultra-fast technique, which requires less than one minute scan time, permits analysis from various angles with good-quality image resolution.

Furthermore, a second contrast-enhanced isotropic 3D single breath-hold scan could aid in assessing the degree of a patient’s heart muscle damage.

Philips noted that this approach lowers procedure time for a complete assessment of heart anatomy and function from about one hour to a few minutes.

The technique could potentially boost patient access to accurate diagnoses and enhance comfort through reduced scan times and care costs.

It can be incorporated into current phased-array MRI scanners without requiring any adjustment.

Philips scientist Dr Javier Sánchez-González said: “In just over 20 seconds, all the information needed to know the shape and function of the heart has been acquired.

“And if you need to evaluate the degree of fibrosis after cardiac muscle death, another 20-second acquisition is all it takes, completing the cardiac study in less than a minute.”

Philips and CNIC conducted a clinical trial that included more than 100 patients with several cardiac pathologies. The results showed a substantial agreement between heart function measurements made using the traditional and the latest MR protocol.

Furthermore, the images to illustrate tissue damage of patients’ heart muscles were also similar in both tested techniques.

The research was funded by the Carlos III Institute of Health. Philips and CNIC will continue to work together to bring the new cardiac MR technique into the clinic.

Last month, Philips commenced a study to analyse if the instantaneous wave-free ratio-guided data co-registered on the angiogram could improve percutaneous coronary intervention procedures to open blocked coronary arteries.

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