Purpose: The purpose of this work was to assess the potential and limitations of a contrast-enhanced time-resolved MR angiography technique for evaluation of spinal vascular malformations.
Method: Two patients with intramedullary arteriovenous (AV) malformations and three patients with dural AV fistula underwent four serial acquisitions, every 17-20 s, of 20-32 coronal 1.5- to 2-mm-thick partitions with a fast 3D SPGR sequence after injection of 0.2-0.3 mmol/kg paramagnetic contrast agent. This was followed by coronal 3D and sagittal or coronal 2D phase contrast (PC) MR angiography.
Results: No spinal vessels were visualized in the first (baseline) series. In patients with intramedullary AV malformations, the arterial feeders, nidus, and perimedullary draining veins were visualized in the second (early) series. In the third (intermediate) series, the arterial feeder vanished, whereas the intercostal and lumbar veins appeared. In patients with dural AV fistula, abnormal intraspinal vessel appeared in the third series and persisted, although less conspicuous, in the fourth (late) series. Contrast-enhanced time-resolved MR angiography demonstrated the venous components of the lesion with better conspicuity than 3D PC MR angiography, whereas it was inferior for visualization of arterial feeders. Moreover, indirect identification of the level of the dural AV fistula was possible only on the phase display of the 2D PC MR angiography.
Conclusion: Contrast-enhanced time-resolved MR angiography is a useful complement to PC MR angiography for the evaluation of spinal vascular malformation.