One of the remaining challenges in CMR imaging is accurate and reliable synchronisation of an MRI scan with the heartbeat. The software extracts cardiac motion information from MRI data, and eliminates the need for wires and electrodes to be attached to the patient, thus avoiding the difficulties of obtaining a reliable ECG signal inside the high magnetic field of an MRI.
Additionally, initial results in a study to be published later this year suggest that this technology may have image quality advantages compared to standard ECG synchronisation. Siemens plans to extend the same technology to respiratory gating to eliminate the need for patient breath holding during CMR scans, and to improve the reliability of coronary angiography exams.
"Self gating makes it possible to overcome the limitations of maintaining accurate ECG signal on certain patients once and for all", explained Richard D. White, M.D., Head, Section of Cardiovascular Imaging, Division of Radiology, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. "There is a wireless advantage especially for certain patients such as those with disease of the pericardial sac and patients with right heart overload."
Techniques do exist that allow CMR exams to be acquired in a real time mode without ECG synchronisation. However, for high resolution and diagnostic value, most CMR exams are acquired over a series of approximately six-twelve successive heartbeats, so accurate synchronisation of the scan with the heartbeat is essential.
Over the past decade, there have been many significant advancements in the field of CMR. Siemens Medical Solutions and its collaborative community have been at the centre of many of these advancements, including free-breathing coronary angiography exams, single breath-hold functional studies, viability assessment, and contrast-enhanced MR angiography.
"This new technology is another example of the strong collaborative relationships that Siemens has within the research community", explained Orlando P. Simonetti, Ph.D., Manager of Siemens Cardiovascular Research and Development, in Chicago. "We work very closely with our partners in academic medicine to improve the clinical efficacy and efficiency of CMR technology. Advancements such as this help to bring cardiac MR into mainstream clinical practice."
In recognition of his contribution to this and other collaborative projects with Siemens, Andrew C. Larson, M.S., a Northwestern University graduate student and research fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), received the "MAGNETOM World: CMR Research Student of the Year Award". Mr. Larson is the first annual recipient of this award, which is intended to recognise excellence in research that strives to advance the clinical application of CMR.
Siemens Medical Solutions of Siemens AG with headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania and Erlangen, Germany, is one of the largest suppliers to the health care industry in the world. The company is known for bringing together innovative medical technologies, health care information systems, management consulting, and support services, to help customers achieve tangible, sustainable, clinical and financial outcomes.
From imaging systems for diagnosis, to therapy equipment for treatment, to patient monitors to hearing instruments and beyond, Siemens innovations contribute to the health and well-being of people across the globe, while improving operational efficiencies and optimising work flow in hospitals, clinics, home health agencies, and doctors' offices. Employing approximately 31.000 people worldwide and operating in more than 120 countries, Siemens Medical Solutions reported sales of 7,6 billion euro, orders of 8,4 billion euro and EBIT of 1 billion euro for fiscal 2002.