Objective: We investigated the effectiveness of software-triggered contrast-enhanced three-dimensional (3D) MR angiography in evaluating intracranial arteries.
Subjects and methods: We studied 38 patients with suspected brain lesions. Imaging was performed using a 1.5-T superconducting MR system with a commercially available head coil. To monitor signal intensity changes we used software to place a tracker volume at the basilar artery or the internal carotid artery. A 20-ml bolus of gadodiamide hydrate was administered through the antecubital vein at a rate of 2-4 ml/sec, followed by a saline flush. Three-dimensional MR angiography using a spoiled gradient-echo sequence with centric K-space ordering was triggered by the arrival of the contrast bolus in the tracker volume. Imaging times ranged from 12 to 20 sec. We used MR images to assess the effectiveness of contrast-enhanced 3D MR angiography in revealing intracranial arteries with minimal venous overlap.
Results: The software triggered imaging on the arrival of the contrast bolus in 81.6% of examinations. In 77.6% of examinations, the resulting MR angiograms revealed intracranial arteries with minimal venous overlap.
Conclusion: Software-triggered contrast-enhanced 3D MR angiography with centric K-space ordering is a promising technique for viewing intracranial arteries.