OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of a novel cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) real-time phase contrast (RT-PC) flow measurement technique to reveal the discordant respirophasic changes in mitral and tricuspid valve in flow indicative of the abnormal hemodynamics seen in constrictive pericarditis (CP). Definitive diagnosis of CP requires identification of constrictive hemodynamics with or without pericardial thickening. CMR to date has primarily provided morphological assessment of the pericardium.
METHODS: Sixteen patients (age 57 to 13 years) undergoing CMR to assess known or suspected CP and 10 controls underwent RT-PC that acquired simultaneous mitral valve and tricuspid valve inflow velocities over 10 s of unrestricted breathing. The diagnosis of CP was confirmed via clinical history, diagnostic imaging, cardiac catheterization, intraoperative findings, and histopathology.
RESULTS: Ten patients had CP, all with increased pericardial thickness (6.2 to 1.0 mm). RT-PC imaging demonstrated discordant respirophasic changes in atrioventricular valve inflow velocities in all CP patients, with mean SD mitral valve and tricuspid valve inflow velocity variation of 46 to 20% and 60 to 15%, respectively, compared with 16 to 8% and 24 to 11% in patients without CP (p <0.004 vs. patients with CP for both) and 17 to 5% and 31 to 13% in controls (p < 0.001 vs. patients with CP for both). There was no difference in atrioventricular valve inflow velocity variation between patients without CP compared with controls (p < 0.3 for both). Respiratory variation exceeding 25% across the mitral valve yielded a sensitivity of 100%, a specificity of 100%, and an area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve of 1.0 to detect CP physiology. Using a cutoff of 45%, variation of transtricuspid valve velocity had a sensitivity of 90%, a specificity of 88%, and an area under the receiver-operating characteristic curve of 0.98.
CONCLUSIONS: Accentuated and discordant respirophasic changes in mitral valve and tricuspid valve inflow velocities characteristic of CP can be identified noninvasively with RT-PC CMR. When incorporated into existing CMR protocols for imaging pericardial morphology, RT-PC CMR provides important hemodynamic evidence with which to make a definite diagnosis of CP.
Cardiac MR PET CT Program
Department of Radiology
Massachusetts General Hospital
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