• myocardial fiber architecture;
  • myocardial deformation;
  • NMR imaging


Methods are presented to image the fiber architecture of the human myocardium in vitro and in vivo. NMR images are obtained of the diffusion anisotropy tensor, indicative of local myofiber orientation. Studies of cardiac necropsy specimens demonstrate classic features of ventricular myoarchitecture including the continuous endocardial to epicardial variation of fiber helix angles (angles to the ventricular circumferential direction) of approximatel ±1.3 to −1.3 radians. Cross-fiber anisotropy is also observed. In the beating heart, NMR diffusion data must be corrected for the effects of myocardial deformation during the cardiac cycle. This correction can be performed using an independent MRI method to map the strain-rate tensor field of the myocardium through time. Combining fiber orientation with local myocardial strain rate, local rates of myocardial fiber shortening may be computed.