J. Biomedical Science and Engineering, 2008, 1, 173-177
Published Online November 200 8 in SciRes. http://www.srpublishing.org/journal/jb ise JBiSE
Left ventricular systolic function assessment in
patients with dilated heart failure using
cardiovascular magnetic resonance
Eddie Y. K. Ng1 & Wan Kee Ng2
1School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering, Nanyang Technologic al Univers ity, 50 Nanyang Avenue, Singapore 639798. 2The
Australian Sc hool of Advanced Medicin e, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia. Correspondence shoul d be addressed to Ng* E.Y. K.
Received June 6, 2008; revised October 22, 2008; accepted October 22, 2008
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) has
become a reference standard for the measure-
ment of cardiac volumes, function, and mass.
This study aims to reconstruct three dimen-
sional modeling of the left ventricle (LV) in pa-
tient s with heart failure (HF) using CMRtools and
thereby derive the LV functional indices. CMR
images were acquired in 41 subjects (6 females)
with heart failure (HF) and 12 normal controls (4
females). Five comparisons were made (i) nor-
mal and dilated heart failure subjects, (ii) male
and female normal heart, (iii) male and female
dilated heart, (iv) male normal and dilated heart
failure and (v) female normal and dilated heart
failure. In HF, a significant higher values of EDV
(320 ± 79 vs. 126 ± 22 ml, P<0.0001), ESV (255 ±
68 vs. 54 ± 12 ml, P<0.00001) an d lower values of
EF (20 ± 7 vs. 58 ± 5 %) were found compared
that of normal control. There were significant
difference on LV EDV and ESV between sex in
both normal and HF subjects.
Keywords: Dilated heart failure, magnetic
resonance imaging, left ventricle, systolic func-
The heart is divided into right and left sides by a septum,
which is a partition consisting of myocardium covered in
endocardium. Each side is further divided by the atrio-
ventricular valve (AV) into upper chamber, the atrium,
and lower chamber, the ventricle. The AV valves are
formed by double folds of endocardium strengthened by
fibrous tissues. The right atrioventricular valve (tricuspid
valves) has three flaps or cusps and the left atrioven-
tricular valve (mitral valve) has two.
The heart, with its action as a pump in mechanical
analogy, produces of series of events within a period of
time known as the cardiac cycle. During each cardiac
cycle, the heart contracts and then relaxes creating the
systolic and diastolic pressures. Contraction of the heart
expels a percentage of oxygenated blood known as the
cardiac output, given as product of heart rate and stroke
volume. The period of contraction is called systole and
that of relaxation, diastole.
The valves between the atria and ventricles open and
close passively according to the pressure in the heart
chambers. They open when the pressure in the atria is
greater than that in the ventricles. During ventricular
systole (i.e., contraction), the pressure in the ventricles
rises greater than in the atria, thus shuts the valves to
prevent backward flow of blood. The valves are pre-
vented from opening upwards into the atria by tendinous
cords, which extend from the inferior surface of the
cusps to little projections of myocardium covered with
endothelium, called the papillary muscles.
The muscle layer of the walls of the atria is very thin
compared to the ventricles. This is consistent with the
amount of work it does. The atria, assisted by gravity,
only propel blood through the AV valves into the ventri-
cles. The ventricles on the other hand, actively pump the
blood to the lungs and to the distal parts of the body. In
the case of the left ventricle, oxygenated blood from the
left atria enters the left AV valve into the left ventricle,
and from there the blood is pumped via the aorta, then
the peripheral arteries and to different organs. Therefore
the muscle layer is thickest in the wall of the left ventri-
When the pressure developed in the left ventricle by
the contraction of myocardium is less than the pressure
in the aorta, the ventricle cannot pump out the normal
amount of blood resulting in left ventricular failure. This
phenomenon can be caused by excessively high systemic
(aortic) blood pressure, incompetence of the mitral
and/or the aortic valve, aortic valve stenosis and myo-
cardial weakness. Failure of the left ventricle leads to
dilatation of the atrium and an increase in pulmonary
blood pressure. This is followed by a rise at the blood
pressure in the right side of the heart and eventually sys-
temic venous congestion.
1.1. Comparison of Imaging Techniques on
Cardiovascular Disease Diagnosis
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174 E. Ng/ J. Biomedical Science and Engineering 1 (2008) 173-177
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Over the past decades, the ability of technology to diag-
nose heart disease has improved dramatically, largely due
to the evolution of new techniques such as electrocardi-
ography, nuclear cardiology, cardiac computed tomogra-
phy and cardiovascular magnetic resonance [1]. When
patients complain of signs and symptoms such as chest
pain, shortness of breath, and an abnormal pulse, further
diagnosis can then be administered. Furt h er examinations
and quantification of the left ventricular (LV) ejection
fraction (LVEF), LV end-diastolic volume (LVEDV), and
LV end-systolic volume (LVESV). These are important
prognostic parameters in patients with chronic coronary
artery disease (CAD) and LV dysfunction [2]. Accurate
assessment of LVEF and LV volumes in these patients is
important, and several imaging techniques are available
for this purpose such as the echocardiography, cardio-
vascular magnetic resonance, Nuclear Cardiology and
computed tomography. The advantage and disadvantage
of these methods are briefly discussed as follow.
1.2. Echocardiography Methodology
Echocardiography is one the noninvasive techniques
used in the diagnosis of heart disease. Echocardiograms
are obtained by reflecting high frequency sound waves
off various structures of the heart, then translating the
reflected waves into one- and two-dimensional images.
Echocardiography can produce detailed
three-dimensional images of the heart’s anatomy [7, 10].
These images can used to estimate heart size, functional-
ity, and wall thickness of the muscle. With the combina-
tion of Doppler technique, echocardiography can be used
to estimate blood flow through the heart chambers and
the pressure gradients across valves to determine the
degree of narrowing, regulation, or ventricular calcifica-
tion. When combined with stress test, echocardiography
is able to evaluate wall motion of the ventricles and other
physical characteristics of the heart under stress.
Echocardiography can also be used to detect tumours
or clots within the heart and other congenital abnormali-
ties. It is completely non contact, therefore eliminates
any pain or risk duri ng testing. The concern of using th is
technique is that, echocardiography cannot measure ejec-
tion fraction as precise as other imaging techniques es-
pecially for patients with broad chests or obese [8, 11].
1.3. Nuclear Cardiology Methodology
The use of radioactive substances to examine the func-
tion of the heart was first introdu ced as early as 19 27 [1].
The analysis was by injecting a small amount of a
short-lived radioisotope into the bloodstream and then
track its progress and specific uptake in the circulatory
system using a radiation-detecting device. During nu-
clear cardiology procedures, a scintillation gamma cam-
era is used to detect the radiation (gamma rays) emitted
by the isotope, the data is collected and processed by
computer. Information is then quantified to display as a
picture of the heart.
Nuclear cardiology provides accurate measurement of
heart function especially the ejection fraction [2, 4, 5].
However, quality of data can be affected for patients with
irregular heart rhythm. This technique is not suitable for
pregnant women and nursing mother.
1.4. Cardiac Computed Tomography
Cardiac Computed Tomography is also known as single
photon emission computed tomography (SPECT).
SPECT can be used to obtain three-dimensio nal thallium
images of the heart. It is superior in detecting individual
lesions in the coronary arteries and to identify the loca-
tion of damaged and ischemic heart muscle. SPECT has
been used to assess the effects of treatment for ischemic
heart disease [9]. Although Cardiac Computed tomogra-
phy is also used to diagnose stroke, its use in cardiovas-
cular disease is mainly confined to diseases of the aorta.
The cost of using SPECT is high compared to other
standard nuclear imaging techniques.
1.5. Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance
Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) images are
acquired with patient in supine position by using the
1.5-T MRI system with a flexible body array coil for
signal reception. Spin-echo scout images are obtained in
the coronal and sagittal imaging planes. It enables CMR
to provide accurate, reproducible assessment of cardiac
function through acquisition of tomography images of
high spatial and tempor al resolution. CMR is free of ion-
izing radiation.
LV functional indices will be analysed in this study.
They are (i) end-diastolic Volume (EDV), (ii)
end-systolic volume (ESV), (iii) ejection fraction (EF)
and (iv) stroke volume (SV). They are defined as:
End-diastolic volume (EDV) – EDV is the volume of
blood in the ventricle at the end of filling (i.e.,
end-diastole). An increase in EDV increases the amount
of blood ejected from the ventricle during systole (i.e.,
stroke volume).
End-systolic volume (ESV) – ESV is the volume of blood
in the ventricle at the end of the cardiac ejection period
and immediately preceding the beginning of ventricular
relaxation. Measurement of the adequacy of cardiac
emptying relates to systolic function. End-systolic vol-
ume will be seen at the end of the T wave.
Ejection fraction (EF) – EF is the fraction of blood
ejected by the ventricle relative to its end-diastolic vol-
ume (i.e., = SV/EDV × 100%).
Ejection fraction is commonly measured using echo-
cardiography. This non-invasive technique p rovid es good
estimates of EDV, ES,,and SV. Normally, EF is
>60%. EF is often used as a clinical index to evaluate the
inotropic status of the heart. A high EF could indicate the
presence of certain heart conditions, such as hypertrophy
cardiomyopathy [1]. A low EF could be a sign that the
heart is weakened [1]. One should be aware that, it is
important to note that there are circumstances in which
EF can be normal, yet the ventricle is in failure. Oneex-
ample is diastolic dysfunction caused by hypertrophy in
E. Ng/ J. Biomedical Science and Engineering 1 (2008) 173-177 175
SciRes Copyright © 2008 JBiSE
Figure 1. Cine-frame images of a 4-chamber (above panel), a short-axis (middle panel) and 3-dimensional reconstruction (be-
low panel) of left ventricle at end-diastolic (left panel) and end-systolic (right panel) phases. 3-dimensional reconstruction is for
calculation of ventricular volumes and function.
Table 1. LV functional Indices between the normal and HF Subjects.
Normal Heart failure
EDV (ml) ESV (ml) SV (ml) EF (%) EDV (ml) ESV (ml) SV (ml) EF (%)
Mean ± SD 126 ± 22 54 ± 13 73 ± 12 58 ± 5 320 ± 79* 255 ± 68* 65 ± 14 20 ± 7*
Min 81 30 51 50 156 101 14 6
Max 156 78 99 66 489 441 133 38
176 E. Ng/ J. Biomedical Science and Engineering 1 (2008) 173-177
SciRes Copyright © 2008 JBiSE
Table 2. The P values of comparisons.
EDV (ml) ESV (ml) SV (ml) EF (%)
Normal vs. HF <0.0001 <0.0001 0.224 <0.0001
Normal vs. HF in male <0.0001 <0.0001 0.062 <0.0001
Normal vs. HF in female 0.001 0.001 0.516 0.001
Male vs. Female in normal 0.012 0.066 0.002 0.965
P value
Male vs. Female in HF 0.004 0.010 0.224 0.635
which filling is impaired because of low ventricular
compliance and stroke volume is therefore reduced. In
the case of dilated HF, the value of EF be comes very
small as SV decreases and EDV increases. In severe HF,
EF may be 20% or less.
Stroke volume (SV) – SV is the amount of blood
pumped by the LV in one contraction. Normally, only
about two-thirds of the blood in the ventricle is pumped
out with each beat. What blood is actually pumped from
the left ventricle is the stroke volume and it, together
with the heart rate, determines the cardiac output.
53 subjects were included in the study from two groups:
41 patients with dilated HF and 12 normal volunteers.
CMRtools was used to reconstruct the 3-dimensional (3D)
model of the LV and to derive LV functional indices (i.e.,
EDV, ESV, SV and EF). One sample 3D model of the LV
was shown in Figure 1. 2-sample t-test was performed to
assess any significant differences on LV functional indi-
ces between normal and dilated HF subjects. A commer-
cially available statistical software package was used for
data analysis (Minitab 14).
LV Functional Indices for Normal and HF Subjects are
summarized in Table 1. EDV and ESV in HF are sig-
nificantly higher than that of the normal control. LV EF
is significant lower that that of the normal control. The
detail analysis by using 2-sample t-test between the nor-
mal control and dilated HF subjects on EDV, ESV, SV
and EV are summarized in Table 2.
In normal subjects, there is statistical significant dif-
ference on EDV and SV between male and female, but
not for ESV and EF. In HF subjects, there is statistical
significant difference on EDV and ESV between male
and female. It was seen that in both the normal and di-
lated HF, male had higher values of EDV. When it comes
to ESV, both male and female have the same value in the
normal subjects. However, male has higher ESV values
in HF subjects. SV, on the other hand, shows reversed
trend. Male subjects show higher SV compared to female
in the normal subjects, however, there is no significant
difference between SV in HF subjects. There is no sig-
nificant difference between male and female in EF in
both the normal and HF subjects.
LV 3-dimensional modeling was reconstructed and the
LV functional indices were derived. It was seen that the
mean value of EDV is 126 ml in normal subjects com-
pared to 320 ml in the dilated HF subjects For ESV, the
values increased from 54 ml in normal subjects to 255 ml
in dilated HF subjects.
Various studies have been done to compare the func-
tional indices between MRI and various other medical
imaging available when diagnosing the normal and heart
failure [2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 12]. Riemer et al [2] reported their
MRI study conducted on 38 patients with chronic coro-
nary diseases that the values of EDV range from 61 ml to
267 ml, ESV from 31 ml to 202 ml and EF from 14% to
59%. Compared to PET where the EDV value is 41 –
242 ml, ESV 24 – 198 ml and EF 13 – 55 %. Only ESV
showed no significant difference between MRI and PET.
Tuncay Hazirolan et al [8] compared their MRI with
echocardiography on 20 patients with 15 reported history
of myocardial infarction and showed that there is no sig-
nificant difference between ESV and EF for dilated HF.
The EDV and SV values from MRI were higher com-
pared to the measurement from echocardiography. Lissa
Sugeng et al [11] compared CT with MRI with 31 sub-
jects (14 female) and found 9 of which were normal and
their result showed that the measurement with CT re-
sulted in significantly overestimation of both EDV and
ESV. Based on findings from these studies, we found that
CMR has no significant difference when compared to
PET and echocardiography on LV volumes, but not for
CT. EDV, ESV and EF values obtained from our study
fall within the range p reviou sly reported b y other authors
[2, 11].
This study showed a significant difference on EDV, ESV
and EF between normal and HF subjects.
The first author would like to thank Dr Zhong L. of National Heart
Center, Singapore for sharing of his views and interests on the work.
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