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26.10.2017 | Original Article

Assessment of acute myocarditis by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging: Comparison of qualitative and quantitative analysis methods

Journal of Nuclear Cardiology
MD Massimo Imbriaco, MD Carmela Nappi, MD Marta Puglia, MD Marco De Giorgi, MD Serena Dell’Aversana, MD Renato Cuocolo, MD Andrea Ponsiglione, MD Igino De Giorgi, MD Maria Vincenza Polito, MD Michele Klain, MD Federico Piscione, MD Leonardo Pace, MD Alberto Cuocolo
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The online version of this article (doi:10.​1007/​s12350-017-1109-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
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To compare cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) qualitative and quantitative analysis methods for the noninvasive assessment of myocardial inflammation in patients with suspected acute myocarditis (AM).


A total of 61 patients with suspected AM underwent coronary angiography and CMR. Qualitative analysis was performed applying Lake-Louise Criteria (LLC), followed by quantitative analysis based on the evaluation of edema ratio (ER) and global relative enhancement (RE). Diagnostic performance was assessed for each method by measuring the area under the curves (AUC) of the receiver operating characteristic analyses. The final diagnosis of AM was based on symptoms and signs suggestive of cardiac disease, evidence of myocardial injury as defined by electrocardiogram changes, elevated troponin I, exclusion of coronary artery disease by coronary angiography, and clinical and echocardiographic follow-up at 3 months after admission to the chest pain unit.


In all patients, coronary angiography did not show significant coronary artery stenosis. Troponin I levels and creatine kinase were higher in patients with AM compared to those without (both P < .001). There were no significant differences among LLC, T2-weighted short inversion time inversion recovery (STIR) sequences, early (EGE), and late (LGE) gadolinium-enhancement sequences for diagnosis of AM. The AUC for qualitative (T2-weighted STIR 0.92, EGE 0.87 and LGE 0.88) and quantitative (ER 0.89 and global RE 0.80) analyses were also similar.


Qualitative and quantitative CMR analysis methods show similar diagnostic accuracy for the diagnosis of AM. These findings suggest that a simplified approach using a shortened CMR protocol including only T2-weighted STIR sequences might be useful to rule out AM in patients with acute coronary syndrome and normal coronary angiography.

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