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Image Improved Intravoxel Incoherent Motion MRI With Optimized Trigger Delays Based on Strain Curve Analysis to Evaluate Myocardial Microvascular Dysfunction of Exertional Heat Illness.

BACKGROUND: Intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) MRI has not been widely used and its role in evaluating exertional heat illness (EHI)-related myocardial involvement remains unknown.

PURPOSE: To investigate the feasibility of strain curve-derived trigger delay (TD) IVIM-MRI and its role in assessing myocardial diffusion and microvascular perfusion of EHI patients.

STUDY TYPE: Prospective.

SUBJECTS: A total of 42 male EHI patients (median age: 21 years) and 22 age- and sex-matched healthy controls (HC).

FIELD STRENGTH/SEQUENCE: A 3-T, diffusion-weighted spin-echo echo-planar-imaging sequence.

ASSESSMENT: IVIM-MRI was acquired by conventional TD method (group A) or strain curve-based TD method (group B) in random order. IVIM image quality was evaluated on a 3-point Likert scale (1, nondiagnostic; 2, moderate; 3, good). Technical success was defined as image quality score = 3. IVIM-MRI-derived parameters (pseudo diffusion in the capillaries [D*], perfusion fraction [f], and slow apparent diffusion coefficient [D]) were compared between EHI and HC.

STATISTICAL TESTS: Student's t-tests, chi-square tests, one-way analysis of variance, receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis, Pearson's correlation coefficient (r). The statistical significance level was set at P < 0.05.

RESULTS: IVIM-MRI image quality score (median [interquartile range]: 3 [2, 3] vs. 2 [1-3]) and technical success rate (61.9%[13/21] vs. 28.6%[6/21]) were significantly improved in group B. EHI patients showed significantly decreased D* (118.1 ± 23.3 × 10-3  mm2 /sec vs. 142.7 ± 42.6 × 10-3  mm2 /sec) and f values (0.42 ± 0.12 vs. 0.51 ± 0.11) and significantly higher D values (3.0 ± 0.9 × 10-3  mm2 /sec vs. 2.5 ± 0.6 × 10-3  mm2 /sec) compared to HC. Relative to D and D*, f showed the most robust efficacy for detecting EHI-related myocardial injury with the highest area under the ROC curve (0.906: 95% confidence interval, 0.799, 0.967) and sensitivity of 88.5% and specificity of 85.6%.

CONCLUSION: The strain curve-based TD method significantly improved image quality and technical success rate of IVIM-MRI, and f value may be an effective biomarker to assess myocardial microcirculation abnormalities of EHI patients.



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