OBJECTIVES: The goal of this study was to detect transplant arteriopathy (Tx-CHD) by a reduced myocardial perfusion reserve (MPR) and resting endomyocardial/epimyocardial perfusion ratio (Endo/Epi ratio). BACKGROUND: Transplant arteriopathy often lacks clinical symptoms and is the reason for frequent surveillance angiography in heart transplant (Tx) recipients. Magnetic resonance perfusion imaging (MRPI) allows noninvasive assessment of transmural and selective endomyocardial and epimyocardial perfusion. METHODS: Fifteen healthy volunteers (controls) and three groups (A, B, C) of Tx recipients were included. In controls and patients, MPR (hyperemic/resting perfusion) and Endo/Epi ratio were determined with MRPI after injection of gadolinium-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid at rest and during hyperemia (intravenous adenosine). Group A (n = 10) had no left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy and/or prior rejection, while patients in group B (n = 10) had at least one of these characteristics. Patients in group A and B had a normal coronary angiogram and a coronary flow reserve (CFR) of ≥2.5 (CFR = hyperemic/resting blood flow). Group C (n = 7) had Tx-CHD diagnosed by angiography and a reduced CFR (<2.5). RESULTS: In group C, MPR (1.7 ± 0.5) and Endo/Epi ratio (1.1 ± 0.2) were significantly reduced compared with controls (4.2 ± 0.7 and 1.6 ± 0.3; both p < 0.0001), group A (3.6 ± 0.7 and 1.6 ± 0.2; both p < 0.0001) and B (2.7 ± 0.9, p < 0.01 and 1.4 ± 0.1, p < 0.04). Transplant arteriopathy can be excluded by an MPR of >2.3 with sensitivity and specificity of 100% and 85%. If LV hypertrophy and prior rejection are excluded, Tx-CHD can be excluded by an Endo/Epi ratio of >1.3 with 100% and 80%. CONCLUSIONS: Magnetic resonance perfusion imaging detects Tx-CHD by a decreased MPR. After exclusion of LV hypertrophy and prior rejection, resting Endo/Epi ratio alone might be sufficient to indicate Tx-CHD.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Dr. Muehling was supported by a grant from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (MU 1570/1-1) as a postdoctoral research fellow.