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Open Access Highly Accessed Research

Design and testing of an MRI-compatible cycle ergometer for non-invasive cardiac assessments during exercise

Silmara Gusso1, Carlo Salvador2, Paul Hofman15*, Wayne Cutfield1, James C Baldi3, Andrew Taberner24 and Poul Nielsen24

Author Affiliations

1 Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

2 Department of Engineering Science, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

3 Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Otago, New Zealand

4 Auckland Bioengineering Institute, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand

5 Liggins Institute, University of Auckland, 2-6 Park Ave, Grafton, Auckland, New Zealand

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BioMedical Engineering OnLine 2012, 11:13  doi:10.1186/1475-925X-11-13

Published: 18 March 2012

Abstract

Background

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is an important tool for cardiac research, and it is frequently used for resting cardiac assessments. However, research into non-pharmacological stress cardiac evaluation is limited.

Methods

We aimed to design a portable and relatively inexpensive MRI cycle ergometer capable of continuously measuring pedalling workload while patients exercise to maintain target heart rates.

Results

We constructed and tested an MRI-compatible cycle ergometer for a 1.5 T MRI scanner. Resting and sub-maximal exercise images (at 110 beats per minute) were successfully obtained in 8 healthy adults.

Conclusions

The MRI-compatible cycle ergometer constructed by our research group enabled cardiac assessments at fixed heart rates, while continuously recording power output by directly measuring pedal force and crank rotation.

Keywords:
Cycle ergometer; Left ventricular function; Magnetic resonance imaging