In total, 46 patients with chest pain were enrolled in the study. All were scheduled to undergo coronary angiography. The patients were divided into two groups. The first group included 32 patients suspected of having CAD, and the second included 14 patients with prior history of heart attack and suspected new arterial lesions. The MRI protocol included assessment of the left ventricle of the heart and blood flow during medicinally induced cardiac stress and rest and myocardial damage (delayed-enhancement technique). After MRI was completed, coronary angiography was performed for comparison.
Traditional angiography demonstrated significant CAD in 30 of 46 patients (65 percent). Of these 30 patients, MRI demonstrated CAD with an accuracy of 88 percent. In patients with only one diseased vessel, the accuracy of MRI increased to 96 percent. In patients who had previously undergone bypass graft surgery, the accuracy of MRI was 90 percent.
Because of the diagnostic accuracy of this new MRI technique, it can potentially be used to enhance clinical decision-making and guide appropriate disease management; for example, when deciding whether or not to proceed with a more invasive modality like cardiac catheterization or coronary artery bypass surgery.
"In addition to diagnostic accuracy, cardiac MRI is safe," Dr. Cury added. "It can provide information about the anatomy, function, blood flow and damage that the heart has sustained. MRI can also be used to assess the blood vessels in the body."