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Myocardial T1 and T2 mapping at 3 T: reference values, influencing factors and implications

Florian von Knobelsdorff-Brenkenhoff12*, Marcel Prothmann12, Matthias A Dieringer12, Ralf Wassmuth12, Andreas Greiser3, Carsten Schwenke4, Thoralf Niendorf15 and Jeanette Schulz-Menger12

Author Affiliations

1 Berlin Ultrahigh Field Facility, Max-Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany

2 Working Group on Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance, Experimental and Clinical Research Center a joint cooperation between the Charité Medical Faculty and the Max-Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine HELIOS Klinikum Berlin Buch, Department of Cardiology and Nephrology, Lindenberger Weg 80, 13125, Berlin, Germany

3 Siemens Healthcare, Erlangen, Germany

4 Scossis, Berlin, Germany

5 Experimental and Clinical Research Center, a joint cooperation between the Charité Medical Faculty and the Max-Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine, Berlin, Germany

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Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 2013, 15:53  doi:10.1186/1532-429X-15-53

Published: 18 June 2013



Myocardial T1 and T2 mapping using cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) are promising to improve tissue characterization and early disease detection. This study aimed at analyzing the feasibility of T1 and T2 mapping at 3 T and providing reference values.


Sixty healthy volunteers (30 males/females, each 20 from 20–39 years, 40–59 years, 60–80 years) underwent left-ventricular T1 and T2 mapping in 3 short-axis slices at 3 T. For T2 mapping, 3 single-shot steady-state free precession (SSFP) images with different T2 preparation times were acquired. For T1 mapping, modified Look-Locker inversion recovery technique with 11 single shot SSFP images was used before and after injection of gadolinium contrast. T1 and T2 relaxation times were quantified for each slice and each myocardial segment.


Mean T2 and T1 (pre-/post-contrast) times were: 44.1 ms/1157.1 ms/427.3 ms (base), 45.1 ms/1158.7 ms/411.2 ms (middle), 46.9 ms/1180.6 ms/399.7 ms (apex). T2 and pre-contrast T1 increased from base to apex, post-contrast T1 decreased. Relevant inter-subject variability was apparent (scatter factor 1.08/1.05/1.11 for T2/pre-contrast T1/post-contrast T1). T2 and post-contrast T1 were influenced by heart rate (p < 0.0001, p = 0.0020), pre-contrast T1 by age (p < 0.0001). Inter- and intra-observer agreement of T2 (r = 0.95; r = 0.95) and T1 (r = 0.91; r = 0.93) were high. T2 maps: 97.7% of all segments were diagnostic and 2.3% were excluded (susceptibility artifact). T1 maps (pre-/post-contrast): 91.6%/93.9% were diagnostic, 8.4%/6.1% were excluded (predominantly susceptibility artifact 7.7%/3.2%).


Myocardial T2 and T1 reference values for the specific CMR setting are provided. The diagnostic impact of the high inter-subject variability of T2 and T1 relaxation times requires further investigation.

Cardiovascular magnetic resonance; Heart; T1; T2; Mapping; 3 T