Stem cell therapy may provide an alternative therapeutic option for severe congestive heart failure (CHF). Despite the promise generated by this novel approach, precise in vivo monitoring of the transplanted cells and of subsequent myocardial restoration remains a challenge. The development of a sensitive, noninvasive imaging technology to track stem cells while assessing cardiac function is critical to monitor therapeutic efficacy. In vivo cardiovascular MRI of stem cells is an emerging application to identify, localize, and monitor stem cells while simultaneously evaluating the restoration of the injured myocardium following stem cell therapy. Furthermore, advances in scanner technology, pulse sequence design, and associated hardware have resulted in real-time guidance of catheter-based intervention to deliver cells accurately to the regions of myocardial injury. These capabilities have positioned MRI as the primary comprehensive imaging modality to monitor cell therapy.
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