Myocardial Blood-Oxygen-Level-Dependent Magnetic Resonance Imaging with Balanced Steady-State Free Precession Imaging Approaches

Rohan Dharmakumar*, 1, Sotirios A. Tsaftaris2, Debiao Li1
1 Biomedical Imaging Research Institute, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA 90048, USA
2 Computer Science and Applications, IMT Institutions, Markets, Technologies Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca, Piazza S. Ponziano, 655100 Lucca, Italy

© 2012 Dharmakumar et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Biomedical Imaging Research Institute, PACT Bldg – Suite 800; 8700 Beverly Blvd, Los Angeles, 90048, USA; Tel: (310) 423-7641; Fax: (310) 248-8682; E-mail:


The current state of myocardial Blood-Oxygen-Level-Dependent (BOLD) MRI with balanced steady-state free precession (SSFP) approaches is reviewed. Initial studies forming the basis for SSFP-based detection of oxygenation changes beginning with whole blood studies, progressing through controlled studies that consider microcirculatory changes in oxygenation in skeletal muscle and kidney, culminating in basic myocardial studies are outlined. The theoretical basis to observe signal changes and the mechanisms that facilitate such observations are elucidated. Methods to overcome limitations in sensitivity are described.

Keywords: BOLD, cardiac, SSFP, blood, oxygen, ischemic heart disease.