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Keywords:

  • 3D;
  • intracranial;
  • isotropic;
  • MRI;
  • plaque;
  • vessel wall

Abstract

Purpose:

To develop a high isotropic-resolution sequence to evaluate intracranial vessels at 3.0 Tesla (T).

Materials and Methods:

Thirteen healthy volunteers and 4 patients with intracranial stenosis were imaged at 3.0T using 0.5-mm isotropic-resolution three-dimensional (3D) Volumetric ISotropic TSE Acquisition (VISTA; TSE, turbo spin echo), with conventional 2D-TSE for comparison. VISTA was repeated for 6 volunteers and 4 patients at 0.4-mm isotropic-resolution to explore the trade-off between SNR and voxel volume. Wall signal-to-noise-ratio (SNRwall), wall-lumen contrast-to-noise-ratio (CNRwall-lumen), lumen area (LA), wall area (WA), mean wall thickness (MWT), and maximum wall thickness (maxWT) were compared between 3D-VISTA and 2D-TSE sequences, as well as 3D images acquired at both resolutions. Reliability was assessed by intraclass correlations (ICC).

Results:

Compared with 2D-TSE measurements, 3D-VISTA provided 58% and 74% improvement in SNRwall and CNRwall-lumen, respectively. LA, WA, MWT and maxWT from 3D and 2D techniques highly correlated (ICCs of 0.96, 0.95, 0.96, and 0.91, respectively). CNRwall-lumen using 0.4-mm resolution VISTA decreased by 27%, compared with 0.5-mm VISTA but with reduced partial-volume-based overestimation of wall thickness. Reliability for 3D measurements was good to excellent.

Conclusion:

The 3D-VISTA provides SNR-efficient, highly reliable measurements of intracranial vessels at high isotropic-resolution, enabling broad coverage in a clinically acceptable time. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2011;. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.