Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension: Diagnosis with Fast Perfusion MR Imaging and High-Spatial-Resolution MR Angiography—Preliminary Experience

PURPOSE: To determine prospectively the accuracy of a magnetic resonance (MR) perfusion imaging and MR angiography protocol for differentiation of chronic thromboembolic pulmonary arterial hypertension (CTEPH) and primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) by using parallel acquisition techniques.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: The study was approved by the institution's internal review board, and all patients gave written consent prior to participation. A total of 29 patients (16 women; mean age, 54 years ± 17 [± standard deviation]; 13 men; mean age, 57 years ± 15) with known pulmonary hypertension were examined with a 1.5-T MR imager. MR perfusion imaging (temporal resolution, 1.1 seconds per phase) and MR angiography (matrix, 512; voxel size, 1.0 × 0.7 × 1.6 mm) were performed with parallel acquisition techniques. Dynamic perfusion images and reformatted three-dimensional MR angiograms were analyzed for occlusive and nonocclusive changes of the pulmonary arteries, including perfusion defects, caliber irregularities, and intravascular thrombi. MR perfusion imaging results were compared with those of radionuclide perfusion scintigraphy, and MR angiography results were compared with those of digital subtraction angiography (DSA) and/or contrast material–enhanced multi–detector row computed tomography (CT). Sensitivity, specificity, and diagnostic accuracy of MR perfusion imaging and MR angiography were calculated. Receiver operator characteristic analyses were performed to compare the diagnostic value of MR angiography, MR perfusion imaging, and both modalities combined. For MR angiography and MR perfusion imaging, κ values were used to assess interobserver agreement.

RESULTS: A correct diagnosis was made in 26 (90%) of 29 patients by using this comprehensive MR imaging protocol. Results of MR perfusion imaging demonstrated 79% agreement (ie, identical diagnosis on a per-patient basis) with those of perfusion scintigraphy, and results of MR angiography demonstrated 86% agreement with those of DSA and/or CT angiography. Interobserver agreement was good for both MR perfusion imaging and MR angiography (κ = 0.63 and 0.70, respectively).

CONCLUSION: The combination of fast MR perfusion imaging and high-spatial-resolution MR angiography with parallel acquisition techniques enables the differentiation of PPH from CTEPH with high accuracy.

© RSNA, 2005


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Article History

Published in print: Aug 2005