High resolution simultaneous imaging of intracranial and extracranial arterial wall with improved cerebrospinal fluid suppression

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Publication date: Available online 12 August 2017
Source:Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Author(s): Lei Zhang, Na Zhang, Jun Wu, Xin Liu, Yiu-Cho Chung
PurposeTo develop a technique for three dimensional (3D) high resolution joint imaging of intracranial and extracranial arterial walls with improved cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) suppression and good blood suppression based on T1 weighted sampling perfection with application optimized contrast using different angle evolutions (T1w-SPACE) and to compare this technique (hereafter, iSPACE) with alternating with nutation for tailored excitation (DANTE) prepared SPACE sequence (DANTE-SPACE) for their CSF suppression performance around the mid cerebral arteries (MCA) and blood suppression at carotid arteries.Materials and methodsEight volunteers and twelve patients were prospectively recruited in this institutional review board approved study. A custom designed 32-channel coil set covering the intracranial and extracranial arteries was used for signal reception. Imaging was performed in each subject using DANTE-SPACE and iSPACE. Signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) of the vessel walls at the MCA and carotid arteries, and contrast-to-noise ratios (CNR) between vessel wall and CSF at the MCA and between vessel wall and lumen at carotid arteries from the two sequences were compared.ResultsIn volunteers, contrast between CSF and white matter (surrogate for vessel wall signal) at the M2 segments in iSPACE was 67.9% higher than in DANTE-SPACE. At the carotid region, the SNR of vessel wall in iSPACE was 11.6% higher than DANTE-SPACE while the CNR in iSPACE was 13% higher than DANTE-SPACE. In patients, images with 0.6mm isotropic resolution were obtained in 7.5min. iSPACE showed 70.9% improvement in CNR between plaque and CSF at the M2 segments compared to DANTE-SPACE.ConclusionSimultaneous extracranial and intracranial arterial wall imaging using iSPACE improved CSF suppression significantly at the M2 segment of MCA while blood suppression was comparable to DANTE-SPACE. The technique achieved 3D images with 0.6mm isotropic spatial resolution and took 7.5min using a custom made coil set. Using this technique, intracranial plaque visualization was improved with no observable image SNR degradation.

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