3D left ventricular extracellular volume fraction by low-radiation dose cardiac CT: Assessment of interstitial myocardial fibrosis

Marcelo Souto Nacif, Yixun Liu, Jianhua Yao, Songtao Liu, Christopher T. Sibley, Ronald M. Summers, David A. Bluemke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Background: Myocardial fibrosis leads to impaired cardiac function and events. Extracellular volume fraction (ECV) assessed with an iodinated contrast agent and measured by cardiac CT may be a useful noninvasive marker of fibrosis. Objective: The purpose of this study was to develop and evaluate a 3-dimensional (3D) ECV calculation toolkit (ECVTK) for ECV determination by cardiac CT. Methods: Twenty-four subjects (10 systolic heart failure, age, 60 ± 17 years; 5 diastolic failure, age 56 ± 20 years; 9 matched healthy subjects, age 59 ± 7 years) were evaluated. Cardiac CT examinations were done on a 320-multidetector CT scanner before and after 130 mL of iopamidol (Isovue-370; Bracco Diagnostics, Plainsboro, NJ, USA) was administered. A calcium score type sequence was performed before and 7 minutes after contrast with single gantry rotation during 1 breath hold and single cardiac phase acquisition. ECV was calculated as (ΔHUmyocardium/ΔHUblood) × (1 - Hct) where Hct is the hematocrit, and ΔHU is the change in Hounsfield unit attenuation = HUafter iodine - HUbefore iodine. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging was performed to assess myocardial structure and function. Results: Mean 3D ECV values were significantly higher in the subjects with systolic heart failure than in healthy subjects and subjects with diastolic heart failure (mean, 41% ± 6%, 33% ± 2%, and 35% ± 5%, respectively; P = 0.02). Interobserver and intraobserver agreements were excellent for myocardial, blood pool, and ECV (intraclass correlation coefficient, >0.90 for all). Higher 3D ECV by cardiac CT was associated with reduced systolic circumferential strain, greater end-diastolic and -systolic volumes, and lower ejection fraction (r = 0.70, r = 0.60, r = 0.73, and r = -0.68, respectively; all P < 0.001). Conclusion: 3D ECV by cardiac CT can be performed with ECVTK. We demonstrated increased ECV in subjects with systolic heart failure compared with healthy subjects. Cardiac CT results also showed good correlation with important functional heart biomarkers, suggesting the potential for myocardial tissue characterization with the use of 3D ECV by cardiac CT. This trial is registered at www.ClinicalTrials.gov as NCT01160471.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-57
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • 3D extracellular volume
  • Cardiac computed tomography
  • Diffuse myocardial fibrosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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