The authors assessed regional cerebral blood flow dynamics with magnetic resonance (MR) imaging enhanced with gadolinium diethylenetriaminepentaacetic acid (DTPA). After bolus administration of Gd-DTPA, rapid T2*-weighted gradient-echo images were acquired. Image acquisition time ranged from 2 to 3 seconds. The signal intensity (SI) of brain tissue and blood vessels markedly decreased during the first pass of contrast agent through the brain due to the local field inhomogeneity caused by the concentrated paramagnetic contrast agent. The method was used in 18 subjects with no cerebrovascular disease and 32 patients with stroke, vascular stenosis, arteriovenous malformation, and cerebral neoplasm. Comparison with intracranial angiography was performed in three patients and with single-photon emission computed tomography of blood flow in four. The change in T2* relaxation rate was approximately linearly related to the dose of contrast agent. The SI change increased as the echo time was lengthened. Regions in cerebral infarcts, metastases, and arteriovenous malformations showed different enhancement patterns than those of edema around a lesion and of normal brain tissue. Abnormal circulation times in patients with vascular stenoses were demonstrated. The method provides information about cerebral blood flow dynamics not available from conventional MR imaging and MR angiography.

Article History

Published in print: 1990