German researchers at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the Max-Delbrück-Center for Molecular Medicine have developed a new surface coil for MR imaging of the heart at 7 Tesla. The ultrahigh field technique provides a level of detail to tell the difference between blood and cardiac muscle.
From a Charité press release:
For cardiac imaging in ultrahigh fields new versions of multi-channel transmit and receive antennas – so-called radiofrequency coils – were developed at the Berlin Ultrahigh Field Facility (B.U.F.F.) located at Campus Buch. For this purpose a joint collaboration between the Charité, the MDC, the German Metrology Institute and Siemens Healthcare was initiated. To make use of the capacity and traits of the strong magnetic field a groundbreaking triggering device was developed to synchronize cardiac imaging with heart motion. This approach eliminates mis-synchronization frequently encountered with conventional triggering devices and hence helps to generate crisp cardiac images, a feature which might be compared with sport macros used in digital photography. "We correlate the image exposure with the heartbeat" explains the investigator of the study Prof. Thoralf Niendorf, whose work is published in the March issue of the journal for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. "Our procedure is immune to interference with strong magnetic fields so that we can compensate for the motion of the heart which results in high image quality free of cardiac motion induced blurring and artifacts".
The Berlin-based team led by Professor Thoralf Niendorf, Prof. Jeanette Schulz-Menger from the Charité and Dr. Bernd Ittermann from the German Metrology Institute used the new technologies to derive for the first time a clearly defined image of the beating heart in a magnetic field with a strength of 7.0 Tesla. The advancement in imaging technology culminated in images of the beating heart with a spatial resolution which is by far superior to that previously available and which might come close to turning a 10 megapixel digital camera into a 50 megapixel digital camera.
Press release: New MRI methodology revolutionizes imaging of the beating heart…
Abstract in Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Design and application of a four-channel transmit/receive surface coil for functional cardiac imaging at 7T