The purpose of this study is to quantitatively estimate the shielding and susceptibility effects of commonly used metallic stents on MR signal. Two experiments were performed using a 3D gradient echo sequence with short TE to image a stent phantom: 1) short TR and high flip angle (contrast enhanced MRA parameters), and 2) long TR (TR >> T(1)) and low flip angle. The factor characterizing susceptibility effects was estimated from the signal phase of the first experiment, and then the factor characterizing the shielding effects was derived from the second experiment. Susceptibility induced signal loss was negligible (<1%) for nonstainless-steel (nitinol, platinum, and cobalt-alloy) stents and totally destructive (100%) for the stainless steel stent. Signal loss due to RF shielding was 31-62% for nitinol stents, 14-50% for platinum stents, 50-77% for the cobalt-alloy stents (undetermined for the stainless steel stent), varied with stent orientation, diameter, and wall geometry. In summary, stents made of nitinol, platinum, and cobalt-alloy have negligible susceptibility effects but stents made of stainless steel may have complete dephasing. All stents have substantial shielding effects, which vary with composition, geometry, and orientation. Large platinum stents may have the smallest artifacts and are the best suited for postinterventional MR imaging.
Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.