The impact of the contrast infusion scheme on contrast-enhanced coronary artery imaging was investigated. The imaging technique was a retrospective respiratory-gated gradient-echo sequence. To improve the contrast between blood vessels and myocardium, an inversion pulse was applied to null the myocardial signal. Extravascular contrast agent was infused slowly during data acquisition. Two contrast infusion schemes were compared in animal and volunteer studies and with simulations. One scheme enhanced blood signals during acquisition of both peripheral and central k-space data, which resulted in a relatively flat low-pass k-space filter. The other scheme mainly enhanced blood signals during acquisition of central k-space data, which resulted in a sharp low-pass k-space filter. It is concluded that the former scheme improves the signal-to-noise ratio and edge definition of coronary arteries compared with the latter scheme. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 1999;10:800-805.
Copyright 1999 Wiley-Liss, Inc.