Sodium MRI of the human heart at 7.0 T: preliminary results


  • A. Graessl
  • A. Ruehle
  • H. Waiczies
  • A. Resetar
  • S.H. Hoffmann
  • J. Rieger
  • F. Wetterling
  • L. Winter
  • A.M. Nagel
  • T. Niendorf


  • NMR in Biomedicine


  • NMR Biomed 28 (8): 967-975


  • The objective of this work was to examine the feasibility of three-dimensional (3D) and whole heart coverage 23Na cardiac MRI at 7.0 T including single-cardiac-phase and cinematic (cine) regimes. A four-channel transceiver RF coil array tailored for 23Na MRI of the heart at 7.0 T (f = 78.5 MHz) is proposed. An integrated bow-tie antenna building block is used for 1H MR to support shimming, localization and planning in a clinical workflow. Signal absorption rate simulations and assessment of RF power deposition were performed to meet the RF safety requirements. 23Na cardiac MR was conducted in an in vivo feasibility study. 3D gradient echo (GRE) imaging in conjunction with Cartesian phase encoding (total acquisition time TAQ = 6 min 16 s) and whole heart coverage imaging employing a density-adapted 3D radial acquisition technique (TAQ = 18 min 20 s) were used. For 3D GRE-based 23Na MRI, acquisition of standard views of the heart using a nominal in-plane resolution of (5.0 x 5.0) mm2 and a slice thickness of 15 mm were feasible. For whole heart coverage 3D density-adapted radial 23Na acquisitions a nominal isotropic spatial resolution of 6 mm was accomplished. This improvement versus 3D conventional GRE acquisitions reduced partial volume effects along the slice direction and enabled retrospective image reconstruction of standard or arbitrary views of the heart. Sodium cine imaging capabilities were achieved with the proposed RF coil configuration in conjunction with 3D radial acquisitions and cardiac gating. Cardiac-gated reconstruction provided an enhancement in blood-myocardium contrast of 20% versus the same data reconstructed without cardiac gating. The proposed transceiver array enables 23Na MR of the human heart at 7.0 T within clinical acceptable scan times. This capability is in positive alignment with the needs of explorations that are designed to examine the potential of 23Na MRI for the assessment of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.