A systematic evaluation of the potential quality of magnetic resonance images recorded in the presence of metallic stents was performed on a low-field open imager operating at 0.2 T and on a high-field closed unit operating at 1.0 T. Eight different stent types were examined by two-dimensional gradient-echo sequences with echo times of 4 and 10 msec and by a fast spin-echo technique. In addition, a three-dimensional gradient-echo sequence was applied with an echo time of 2.4 msec. A set of sequence and slice parameters was used on both scanners. Thus, artifacts due to susceptibility effects depending on the magnetic field strength could be distinguished from radiofrequency shielding effects in the lumen of the stents (independent of the field strength). Nine different orthogonal orientations of the stent axis and the image (in terms of slice, read, and phase-encoding direction) were tested, and the artifacts (extension of signal void and visibility of the lumen) were compared. The optimal strategy for visualization of vascular and perivascular regions outside the stents was fast spin-echo imaging with the stent axis and read direction parallel to the static field. Susceptibility-induced signal void in gradient-echo images was minimal using the three-dimensional approach. Increased transmitter amplitudes above usual values provided clearly improved insight in the lumen using gradient-echo sequences.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.