Assessment of ischemic heart disease is an important application of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This noninvasive diagnostic technique has the potential to evaluate different aspects of ischemic heart disease such as myocardial function, perfusion and the extent of acute and chronic infarctions. MRI is becoming an alternative technique for assessment of myocardial viability by predicting systolic recovery of stunned and hibernating myocardium after revascularization. MR contrast agents provide additional information on residual myocardial viability, myocardial perfusion, coronary angiography and microvascular integrity. Recent technologic improvements in scanners, sequences and post-processing of images showed the potentiality of MR-guided procedures. This review begins with a brief overview of magnetic resonance properties and MR contrast agents and proceeds to their applications in cardiac imaging and endovascular intervention. The next generation of MR contrast agents will likely focus on increase detection sensitivity so that minor tissue changes can be detected, prolonging intravascular retention (blood pool contrast agents), improving tissue targeting (tissue and molecule specific contrast agents and probes) and molecular imaging. MRI will play viable role in cardiovascular imaging and intervention in the near future and it may have the potential to complement other commonly used diagnostic modalities.
Keywords: Magnetic resonance imaging, MR contrast agents, cardiac imaging, myocardial viability, myocardial infarction, ischemic heart disease, MR-guided endovascular intervention