Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the role of contrast-enhanced MR imaging in the determination of disease activity in patients with Takayasu's arteritis.
Subjects and methods: High-resolution contrast-enhanced T1-weighted spinecho MR imaging using small fields of view (14-20 cm) and thin slices (4-5 mm) was performed in 26 patients with Takayasu's arteritis and 16 healthy subjects. The degree of aortic mural enhancement was assessed by measuring signal intensity and by visually estimating it in comparison with that of the myocardium.
Results: Contrast-enhanced MR imaging showed more enhancement of thickened aortic wall compared with myocardium, thus suggesting active Takayasu's arteritis on MR imaging in 16 patients. Determination of disease activity using contrast-enhanced MR imaging was concordant with clinical findings in 23 patients (88.5%). Contrast-enhanced MR findings were concordant with laboratory findings in most patients (erythrocyte sedimentation rate in 92.3% [24/26] and C-reactive protein in 84.6% [22/26]). The measured signal intensity of the aortic wall relative to that of myocardium during the early phase of contrast-enhanced MR imaging correlated well with the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (r = 0.78, p < 0.005) and with the C-reactive protein level (r = 0.63, p < 0.005).
Conclusion: Contrast-enhanced MR imaging provides information about disease activity of Takayasu's arteritis, which may be useful in the diagnosis and treatment of Takayasu's arteritis.