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Evaluation of the impact of strain correction on the orientation of cardiac diffusion tensors with in vivo and ex vivo porcine hearts

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To evaluate the importance of strain-correcting stimulated echo acquisition mode echo-planar imaging cardiac diffusion tensor imaging.


Healthy pigs (n = 11) were successfully scanned with a 3D cine displacement-encoded imaging with stimulated echoes and a monopolar-stimulated echo-planar imaging diffusion tensor imaging sequence at 3 T during diastasis, peak systole, and strain sweet spots in a midventricular short-axis slice. The same diffusion tensor imaging sequence was repeated ex vivo after arresting the hearts in either a relaxed (KCl-induced) or contracted (BaCl2 -induced) state. The displacement-encoded imaging with stimulated echoes data were used to strain-correct the in vivo cardiac diffusion tensor imaging in diastole and systole. The orientation of the primary (helix angles) and secondary (E2A) diffusion eigenvectors was compared with and without strain correction and to the strain-free ex vivo data.


Strain correction reduces systolic E2A significantly when compared without strain correction and ex vivo (median absolute E2A = 34.3° versus E2A = 57.1° (P = 0.01), E2A = 60.5° (P = 0.006), respectively). The systolic distribution of E2A without strain correction is closer to the contracted ex vivo distribution than with strain correction, root mean square deviation of 0.027 versus 0.038.


The current strain-correction model amplifies the contribution of microscopic strain to diffusion resulting in an overcorrection of E2A. Results show that a new model that considers cellular rearrangement is required. Magn Reson Med 79:2205-2215, 2018. © 2017 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

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