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PURPOSE: Phosphorus spectroscopy (31 P-MRS) is a proven method to probe cardiac energetics. Studies typically report the phosphocreatine (PCr) to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) ratio. We focus on another 31 P signal: inorganic phosphate (Pi), whose chemical shift allows computation of myocardial pH, with Pi/PCr providing additional insight into cardiac energetics. Pi is often obscured by signals from blood 2,3-diphosphoglycerate (2,3-DPG). We introduce a method to quantify Pi in 14 min without hindrance from 2,3-DPG. METHODS: Using a 31 P stimulated echo acquisition mode (STEAM) sequence at 7 Tesla that inherently suppresses signal from 2,3-DPG, the Pi peak was cleanly resolved. Resting state UTE-chemical shift imaging (PCr/ATP) and STEAM 31 P-MRS (Pi/PCr, pH) were undertaken in 23 healthy controls; pH and Pi/PCr were subsequently recorded during dobutamine infusion. RESULTS: We achieved a clean Pi signal both at rest and stress with good 2,3-DPG suppression. Repeatability coefficient (8 subjects) for Pi/PCr was 0.036 and 0.12 for pH. We report myocardial Pi/PCr and pH at rest and during catecholamine stress in healthy controls. Pi/PCr was maintained during stress (0.098 ± 0.031 [rest] vs. 0.098 ± 0.031 [stress] P = .95); similarly, pH did not change (7.09 ± 0.07 [rest] vs. 7.08 ± 0.11 [stress] P = .81). Feasibility for patient studies was subsequently successfully demonstrated in a patient with cardiomyopathy. CONCLUSION: We introduced a method that can resolve Pi using 7 Tesla STEAM 31 P-MRS. We demonstrate the stability of Pi/PCr and myocardial pH in volunteers at rest and during catecholamine stress. This protocol is feasible in patients and potentially of use for studying pathological myocardial energetics.

Original publication




Journal article


Magn Reson Med

Publication Date





1147 - 1159


31P MRS, 7T, STEAM, cardiac energetics, myocardial pH