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Magnetic resonance multitasking for motion-resolved quantitative cardiovascular imaging

Nature Biomedical Engineeringvolume 2pages215226 (2018) | Download Citation


Quantitative cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging can be used to characterize fibrosis, oedema, ischaemia, inflammation and other disease conditions. However, the need to reduce artefacts arising from body motion through a combination of electrocardiography (ECG) control, respiration control and contrast-weighting selection makes CMR exams lengthy. Here, we show that physiological motions and other dynamic processes can be conceptualized as multiple time dimensions that can be resolved via low-rank tensor imaging, allowing for motion-resolved quantitative imaging with up to four time dimensions. This continuous-acquisition approach, which we name CMR multitasking, captures—rather than avoids—motion, relaxation and other dynamics to efficiently perform quantitative CMR without the use of ECG triggering or breath holds. We demonstrate that CMR multitasking allows for T1 mapping, T1/T2 mapping and time-resolved T1 mapping of myocardial perfusion without ECG information and/or under free-breathing conditions. CMR multitasking may provide a foundation for the development of setup-free CMR imaging for the quantitative evaluation of cardiovascular health.

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This work was supported by NIH 1R01HL124649 and NIH T32HL116273.

Author information

Author notes

    • Christopher Nguyen

    Present address: Cardiovascular Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA, USA


  1. Biomedical Imaging Research Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA

    • Anthony G. Christodoulou
    • , Jaime L. Shaw
    • , Christopher Nguyen
    • , Qi Yang
    • , Yibin Xie
    • , Nan Wang
    •  & Debiao Li
  2. Smidt Heart Institute, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA, USA

    • Anthony G. Christodoulou
  3. Department of Bioengineering, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA, USA

    • Jaime L. Shaw
    • , Nan Wang
    •  & Debiao Li
  4. Department of Radiology, Xuanwu Hospital, Beijing, China

    • Qi Yang


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A.G.C. conceived the imaging framework, wrote the reconstruction and parameter-fitting software, programmed the pulse-sequence sampling scheme, performed the analysis and prepared most of the manuscript. A.G.C., J.L.S. and D.L. designed the native T1 mapping and first-pass myocardial perfusion T1 mapping method and experiments, which were conducted by J.L.S. and A.G.C. C.N. designed the T2IR preparation pulse and programmed it into the pulse sequence. A.G.C., Y.X., N.W., C.N., J.L.S. and D.L. designed the T1/T2 mapping method and healthy volunteer experiments, which were conducted by A.G.C., J.L.S. and C.N. A.G.C., Q.Y. and D.L. designed the patient T1/T2 mapping experiments, which were conducted by Q.Y. J.L.S performed the myocardial T1 reconstructions. A.G.C. performed the T1/T2 and first-pass myocardial perfusion T1 mapping reconstructions. All authors reviewed and edited the manuscript. D.L. supervised the work.

Competing interests

D.L., A.G.C., J.L.S., Y.X. and C.N. have a provisional patent application entitled ‘Low-rank tensor imaging for multidimensional cardiovascular MRI’ (USSN 15/495,588).

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Debiao Li.

Supplementary information

  1. Supplementary Information

    Supplementary figures, tables, notes, methods and references.

  2. Reporting Summary

  3. Supplementary Video 1

    Multitasking image with three time dimensions: inversion time, cardiac phase and respiratory phase.

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