AI-enhanced cardiac MRI shows promise in hypertrophic cardio
Artificial intelligence-assisted enhancement of cardiac MRIs eliminated the need for IV contrast agents and provided better image quality and faster image development compared with late gadolinium-enhanced images, researchers reported.

To evaluate effectiveness of virtual native enhancement compared with late gadolinium enhancement for CMR, researchers enrolled 1,348 patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), who provided 4,093 triplets of matched T1 maps, cines and late gadolinium enhancement data sets.

According to the study, virtual native enhancement and late gadolinium enhancement were scored and contoured by human operators who assessed image quality, visuospatial agreement and myocardial lesion burden quantification.

Researchers reported that virtual native enhancement was associated with better image quality compared with late gadolinium enhancement, as assessed by four independent operators.

After the exclusion of images with uninterpretable late gadolinium enhancement, researchers conducted lesion quantification in 326 short-axis pairs of virtual native-enhanced and late gadolinium-enhanced images from 121 patients. According to the study, virtual native-enhanced images were in high visuospatial agreement with late gadolinium-enhanced images for detecting and quantifying both hyperintensity myocardial lesions and intermediate-intensity lesions.

In addition, the cine plus T1 map images needed for virtual native enhancement were acquired within 15 minutes and the virtually enhanced image was produced in less than 1 second.

“Currently, the majority of CMR scans for tissue characterization requires intravenous access, the use of gadolinium-based contrast agents, related consumables and patient preparation by trained staff,” the researchers wrote. “Virtual native enhancement is available immediately after native T1 map-ping acquisition with no additional cost. Replacing late gadolinium enhancement with virtual native enhancement can significantly shorten the scan time to within 15 minutes, allowing twice as many patients to benefit from CMR at the same infrastructure capacity. The clinical impact and potential cost savings of popularizing this new CMR technology could be substantial.”