Background: Quantitative measurement of wall motion is essential to assess objectively the functional significance of coronary artery disease. We developed a quantitative wall thickening analysis on stress magnetic resonance images. This study was designed to assess the clinical value of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) during dobutamine stress for detection and localization of myocardial ischemia in patients with suspected coronary artery disease. Methods and Results: Thirty-nine consecutive patients with clinically suspected coronary artery disease referred for coronary arteriography and 10 normal volunteers underwent gradient-echo MRI at rest and during peak dobutamine stress (infusion rate, 20 μg · kg-1 · min- 1). MRI was performed in the short-axis plane at four adjacent levels. Display in a cine loop provided a qualitative impression of regional wall motion (cine MRI). A modification of the centerline method was applied for quantitative wall motion analysis by means of calculation of percent systolic wall thickening. Short-axis cine MRI images were analyzed at 100 equally spaced chords constructed perpendicular to a centerline drawn midway between the end-diastolic and end-systolic contours. Dobutamine MRI was considered positive for coronary artery disease if the percent systolic wall thickening of more than four adjacent chords was <2 SD below the mean values obtained from the normal volunteers. The overall sensitivity of dobutamine MRI for the detection of significant coronary artery disease (diameter stenosis ≥50%) was 91% (30 of 33), specificity was 80% (5 of 6), and accuracy was 90% (35 of 39). The sensitivity for identifying one-vessel disease was 88% (15 of 17), for two-vessel disease 91% (10 of 11), and for three-vessel disease 100% (5 of 5). The sensitivity for detection of individual coronary artery lesions was 75% for the left anterior descending coronary artery, 87% for the right coronary artery, and 63% for the left circumflex coronary artery. Conclusions: Dobutamine MRI clearly identifies wall motion abnormalities by quantitative analysis using a modification of the centerline method. Dobutamine MRI is an accurate method for detection and localization of myocardial ischemia and may emerge as a new noninvasive approach for evaluation of patients with known or suspected coronary artery disease.