The annual incidence of hospital admission for acute myocardial infarction lies between 90 and 312 per 100 000 inhabitants in Europe. Despite advances in patient care 1 year mortality after ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) remains around 10%. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) has emerged as a robust imaging modality for assessing patients after acute myocardial injury. In addition to accurate assessment of left ventricular ejection fraction and volumes, CMR offers the unique ability of visualization of myocardial injury through a variety of imaging techniques such as late gadolinium enhancement and T2-weighted imaging. Furthermore, new parametric mapping techniques allow accurate quantification of myocardial injury and are currently being exploited in large trials aiming to augment risk management and treatment of STEMI patients. Of interest, CMR enables the detection of microvascular injury (MVI) which occurs in approximately 40% of STEMI patients and is a major independent predictor of mortality and heart failure. In this article, we review traditional and novel CMR techniques used for myocardial tissue characterization after acute myocardial injury, including the detection and quantification of MVI. Moreover, we discuss clinical scenarios of acute myocardial injury in which the tissue characterization techniques can be applied and we provide proposed imaging protocols tailored to each scenario.
- acute myocardial infarction
- cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging
- infarct tissue characterization
- intramyocardial haemorrhage
- microvascular injury