Sotirios A. Tsaftaris1,2, Xiangzhi Zhou2, Debiao Li2,3, Rohan Dharmakumar2
1Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, United States; 2Radiology, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, United States; 3Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, United States
Blood-oxygen-level dependent (BOLD) MRI may be used for detecting myocardial oxygenation changes secondary to coronary artery stenosis (CAS). Under pharmacological stress, areas of the myocardium supplied by a stenotic coronary artery appear hypointense relative to healthy regions in BOLD images. The purpose of this work is to present a fundamentally new approach for visualizing and quantifying regional myocardial BOLD signal changes. This approach, tested in canines, relies on the statistical identification of myocardial pixels affected by CAS, correlates strongly with true flow measurements, and most importantly, leads to a significant increase in sensitivity to microvascular flow changes compared to previous approaches.