Supraaortic Arteries: Contrast-enhanced MR Angiography at 3.0 T—Highly Accelerated Parallel Acquisition for Improved Spatial Resolution over an Extended Field of View

Purpose: To prospectively use 3.0-T breath-hold high-spatial-resolution contrast material–enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) angiography with highly accelerated parallel acquisition to image the supraaortic arteries of patients suspected of having arterial occlusive disease.

Materials and Methods: Institutional review board approval and written informed consent were obtained for this HIPAA-compliant study. Eighty patients (44 men, 36 women; age range, 44–90 years) underwent contrast-enhanced MR angiography of the head and neck at 3.0 T with an eight-channel neurovascular array coil. By applying a generalized autocalibrating partially parallel acquisition algorithm with an acceleration factor of four, high-spatial-resolution (0.7 × 0.7 × 0.9 mm = 0.44-mm3 voxels) three-dimensional contrast-enhanced MR angiography was performed during a 20-second breath hold. Two neuroradiologists evaluated vascular image quality and arterial stenoses. Interobserver variability was tested with the κ coefficient. Quantitation of stenosis at MR angiography was compared with that at digital subtraction angiography (DSA) (n = 13) and computed tomographic (CT) angiography (n = 12) with Spearman rank correlation coefficient (Rs).

Results: Arterial stenoses were detected with contrast-enhanced MR angiography in 208 (reader 1) and 218 (reader 2) segments, with excellent interobserver agreement (κ = 0.80). There was a significant correlation between contrast-enhanced MR angiography and CT angiography (Rs = 0.95, reader 1; Rs = 0.87, reader 2) and between contrast-enhanced MR angiography and DSA (Rs = 0.94, reader 1; Rs = 0.92, reader 2) for the degree of stenosis. Sensitivity and specificity of contrast-enhanced MR angiography for detection of arterial stenoses greater than 50% were 94% and 98% for reader 1 and 100% and 98% for reader 2, with DSA as the standard of reference. Vascular image quality was sufficient for diagnosis or excellent for 97% of arterial segments evaluated.

Conclusion: By using highly accelerated parallel acquisition, the described 3.0-T contrast-enhanced MR angiographic protocol enabled visualization and characterization of the majority of supraaortic arteries, with diagnostic or excellent image quality (97% of arterial segments) and diagnostic values comparable with those obtained by using CT angiography and DSA for detection of arterial stenoses.

© RSNA, 2007

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Article History

Published in print: 2007