The role of inflammation in cardiovascular pathophysiology has gained a lot of research interest in recent years. Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance has been a powerful tool in the non-invasive assessment of inflammation in several conditions. More recently, Ultrasmall superparamagnetic particles of iron oxide have been successfully used to evaluate macrophage activity and subsequently inflammation on a cellular level. Current evidence from research studies provides encouraging data and confirms that this evolving method can potentially have a huge impact on clinical practice as it can be used in the diagnosis and management of very common conditions such as coronary artery disease, ischaemic and non-ischaemic cardiomyopathy, myocarditis and atherosclerosis. Another important emerging concept is that of myocardial energetics. With the use of phosphorus magnetic resonance spectroscopy, myocardial energetic compromise has been proved to be an important feature in the pathophysiological process of several conditions including diabetic cardiomyopathy, inherited cardiomyopathies, valvular heart disease and cardiac transplant rejection. This unique tool is therefore being utilized to assess metabolic alterations in a wide range of cardiovascular diseases. This review systematically examines these state-of-the-art methods in detail and provides an insight into the mechanisms of action and the clinical implications of their use.
- Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR)
- Magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS)
- Ultrasmall superparamagnetic particles of iron oxide (USPIO)