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Current cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging techniques provide an exquisite assessment of the structure and function of the heart and great vessels, but their ability to assess the molecular processes that underpin changes in cardiac function in health and disease is limited by inherent insensitivity. Hyperpolarized magnetic resonance is a new technology which overcomes this limitation, generating molecular contrast agents with an improvement in magnetic resonance signal of up to five orders of magnitude. One key molecule, hyperpolarized [1-13C]pyruvate, shows particular promise for the assessment of cardiac energy metabolism and other fundamental biological processes in cardiovascular disease. This molecule has numerous potential applications of clinical relevance and has now been translated to human use in early clinical studies. This review outlines the principles of hyperpolarized magnetic resonance and key potential cardiovascular applications for this new technology. Finally, we provide an overview of the pipeline for forthcoming hyperpolarized agents and their potential applications in cardiovascular disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Cardiovascular drugs and therapy

Publication Date



Hyperpolarization, Cardiovascular, Magnetic resonance