Gerhard Laub, PhD, Cardiovascular MR Program Manager at Siemens, reports that research is continuing on the imaging of plaque.
"It is becoming clear that lumen imaging simply is not enough," he
says."We know that there can be rupture of a plaque and vessel blockage that could not have been predicted on the basis of examination of the lumen.A couple of years of intensive research will be needed to bring plaque imaging to the clinic because we are looking at such fine detail, but this could change the types of studies that will be done in clinical practice."The Martinos Center
at Massachusetts General Hospital
has grants from the US National Institutes of Health
and the American Heart Association
to develop plaque imaging at 3T.Early trials have focused on the carotid arteries, where 3T scanning can acquire plaque images in half the time required at 1.5T.Development of plaque imaging requires very thin slices of less than 2 mm and high in-plane resolution of less than 0.5 mm, but the determination of plaque structure and composition may permit the identification of those lesions that are at risk of rupture.
also sees greater use of MR spectroscopy.At present, with voxel sizes of 1 cm or larger, MR spectroscopy is relatively insensitive for measuring myocardial viability.That situation could well change, however, with the greater SNR available using 3T scanners.As 3T scanners become more widely available, many other applications for them are sure to appear.