Relationship of T2-Weighted MRI Myocardial Hyperintensity and the Ischemic Area-At-Risk

Han W. Kim, Lowie Van Assche, Robert B. Jennings, W. Benjamin Wince, Christoph J. Jensen, Wolfgang G. Rehwald, David C. Wendell, Lubna Bhatti, Deneen M. Spatz, Michele A. Parker, Elizabeth R. Jenista, Igor Klem, Anna Lisa C. Crowley, Enn Ling Chen, Robert M. Judd, Raymond J. Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Rationale: After acute myocardial infarction (MI), delineating the area-at-risk (AAR) is crucial for measuring how much, if any, ischemic myocardium has been salvaged. T2-weighted MRI is promoted as an excellent method to delineate the AAR. However, the evidence supporting the validity of this method to measure the AAR is indirect, and it has never been validated with direct anatomic measurements. Objective: To determine whether T2-weighted MRI delineates the AAR. Methods and Results: Twenty-one canines and 24 patients with acute MI were studied. We compared bright-blood and black-blood T2-weighted MRI with images of the AAR and MI by histopathology in canines and with MI by in vivo delayed-enhancement MRI in canines and patients. Abnormal regions on MRI and pathology were compared by (a) quantitative measurement of the transmural-extent of the abnormality and (b) picture matching of contours. We found no relationship between the transmural-extent of T2-hyperintense regions and that of the AAR (bright-blood-T2: r=0.06, P=0.69; black-blood-T2: r=0.01, P=0.97). Instead, there was a strong correlation with that of infarction (bright-blood-T2: r=0.94, P<0.0001; black-blood-T2: r=0.95, P<0.0001). Additionally, contour analysis demonstrated a fingerprint match of T2-hyperintense regions with the intricate contour of infarcted regions by delayed-enhancement MRI. Similarly, in patients there was a close correspondence between contours of T2-hyperintense and infarcted regions, and the transmural-extent of these regions were highly correlated (bright-blood-T2: r=0.82, P<0.0001; black-blood-T2: r=0.83, P<0.0001). Conclusion: T2-weighted MRI does not depict the AAR. Accordingly, T2-weighted MRI should not be used to measure myocardial salvage, either to inform patient management decisions or to evaluate novel therapies for acute MI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-265
Number of pages12
JournalCirculation research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 17 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • MRI
  • magnetic resonance
  • myocardial infarction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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