Post-mortem cardiac magnetic resonance parameters in normal and diseased conditions

Post-mortem cardiac magnetic resonance parameters in normal and diseased conditions.

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Item Type: Article
Status: Published
Official URL:
Journal or Publication Title: Cardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy
Volume: 11
Number: 2
Page Range: pp. 373-382
Date: 2021
Divisions: Molecular Cardiology
Depositing User: General Admin
Identification Number: 10.21037/cdt-20-948
ISSN: 22233652
Date Deposited: 10 Jun 2021 05:49

Background: Post-mortem cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) is a non-invasive alternative to conventional autopsy. At present, diagnostic guidelines for cardiovascular conditions such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy have not been established. We correlated post-mortem CMR images to definite conventional autopsy findings and hypothesed that elevated T2-weighted signal intensity and RV to LV area ratios can identify myocardial infarction and pulmonary emboli respectively.

Methods: For this unblinded pilot sub-study, we selected cases from the original blinded study that compared post-mortem imaging to conventional autopsy in patients referred for coronial investigation between October 2014 to November 2016. Three groups of scans were selected based on the cause of death identified by conventional autopsy: non-cardiovascular causes of death with no structural cardiac abnormality i.e., control cases, acute/subacute myocardial infarction and pulmonary emboli. Left ventricular (LV) wall thickness, LV myocardial signal intensity and ventricular cavity areas were measured.

Results: Fifty-six scans were selected [39 (69.6%) males]: 37 (66.1%) controls, eight (14.3%) acute/subacute myocardial infarction and eleven (19.6%) pulmonary emboli. The median age was 61 years [Interquartile range (IQR) 50-73] and the median time from death to imaging and autopsy was 2 days (IQR 2-3) and 3 days (IQR 3-4). The septal and lateral walls were thicker {15 mm [13-17] and 15 mm [14-18]} on post-mortem CMR than published ante-mortem measurements. Areas of acute/subacute myocardial infarction had significantly higher T2-weighted signal intensity (normalised to skeletal muscle) compared to normal myocardium in those who died from other causes {2.5 [2.3-3.0.] vs. 1.9 [1.8-2.3]; P<0.001}. In cases with pulmonary emboli, there was definite RV enlargement with a larger indexed RV to LV area ratio compared to those who died from other causes {2.9 [2.5-3.0] vs. 1.8 [1.5-2.0]; P<0.001}.

Conclusions: We present potential post-mortem CMR parameters to identify important cardiovascular abnormalities that may be beneficial when conventional autopsy cannot be performed. In patients without cardiovascular disease, LV wall thickness was found to be unreliable in diagnosing hypertrophic cardiomyopathy without histological and/or genetic testing. Elevated T2 signal intensity and RV to LV area ratios may be useful markers for acute/subacute myocardial infarction and pulmonary emboli. Larger studies will be necessary to define cut-offs.

Keywords: Post-mortem cardiac magnetic resonance; conventional autopsy; hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; myocardial infarction; pulmonary emboli.

2021 Cardiovascular Diagnosis and Therapy. All rights reserved.

Femia, Giuseppe
Langlois, Neil
Raleigh, Jim
Perumal, Sunthara Rajan
Semsarian, Christopher
Puranik, Rajesh
Last Modified: 10 Jun 2021 05:49

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