Purpose: To prospectively investigate if T2*-weighted dynamic susceptibility-weighted first-pass perfusion magnetic resonance (MR) imaging is feasible at 3.0 T and which dose of contrast agent is suitable for high-field-strength imaging.
Materials and methods: Informed consent was obtained from all participants; study protocol was approved by the institutional review board. Study included three volunteers (two men, one woman aged 35, 39, and 52 years) and 26 patients (mean age, 49 years +/- 12.8 [standard deviation]; range, 19-76 years). Volunteers underwent 3.0-T perfusion MR imaging with 0.20, 0.10, and 0.05 mmol per kilogram body weight of gadopentetate dimeglumine; patients underwent imaging with 0.10- and 0.05-mmol doses. Perfusion MR imaging was performed with three-dimensional echo-shifted echo-planar imaging (repetition time msec/echo time msec, 14/21; isotropic 4 mm3 voxels; 50 dynamic volumes with 30 sections each, covering entire brain at temporal resolution of 1.5 seconds per MR image). Quality of source echo-planar images and perfusion maps was assessed; perfusion maps obtained at studies with different contrast media doses were compared. Quantitative perfusion values and diagnostic sensitivity of perfusion studies with 0.10-mmol dose were compared with results with 0.05-mmol dose. Image quality scores were compared with marginal homogeneity test for multinomial variables (Mantel-Haenszel statistics for ordered categorized values). Signal-to-noise ratio and baseline signal intensity in perfusion studies were tested (Student t test for paired samples). Mean transit time (MTT), negative integral (NI), and maximum T2* effect from region-of-interest analysis were compared (one-tailed Student t test for paired samples). Quantitative data on number of gamma-fitted pixels were compared (t test for paired samples). Difference with P=.05 (t test for paired samples) was considered significant.
Results: Perfusion image quality was satisfactory even in areas close to skull base (47 of 52 images, minor distortions; remaining images, marked distortions). Perfusion imaging with 0.20-mmol dose caused almost complete signal cancellation during first pass, particularly in cortical gray matter, since mean maximum T2* effect of 98%, 99%, and 98% for gray matter was reached such that the accurate calculation of perfusion maps was impossible. With 0.10-mmol dose, the NI and maximum T2* effect were comparable to published data for 1.5-T perfusion imaging with 0.20- and 0.05-mmol doses; perfusion maps of sufficient diagnostic quality were obtained. For gray matter, mean maximum T2* effect was 25.4% +/- 9.8 with 0.10-mmol dose and 17.5% +/- 9.0 with 0.05-mmol dose. For white matter, mean maximum T2* effect was 15.2% +/- 4.5 with 0.10-mmol dose and 7.7% +/- 2.9 with 0.05-mmol dose. Difference in maximum signal intensity decrease was significant (P <.01). For NI, the difference between 0.10- and 0.05-mmol doses was significant: For gray matter, mean NI was 3.1 +/- 1.60 for 0.10-mmol dose and 1.56 +/- 1.16 for 0.05-mmol dose. For white matter, mean NI was 1.35 +/- 0.59 with 0.1-mmol dose and 0.59 +/- 0.30 with 0.05-mmol dose.
Conclusion: With echo-shifted multishot echo-planar imaging, dynamic susceptibility-weighted perfusion MR imaging at high field strength is feasible without relevant image distortions. Compared with contrast agent dose for 1.5 T imaging, the dose for 3.0 T can be reduced to 0.10 mmol.