Purpose: To identify and quantify the potential sources of motion in carotid artery imaging.
Materials and methods: Two healthy volunteers and 12 patients (20-75 years old) with atherosclerotic disease were scanned on a Philips Intera 1.5T system. A single-shot balanced-fast field echo (bFFE) sequence was used to acquire real-time axial views of the carotid artery wall (three images per second). A three-step acquisition protocol was performed to analyze the three types of motion (arterial pulsation, breathing, and swallowing) separately. The isocenter carotid artery motion amplitude in either the x or y direction was measured. Radial variation in the carotid lumen between the systolic and diastolic phases was analyzed. Motion frequency was reported for each patient.
Results: Significant motion related to arterial pulsation (amplitude = 0.27-0.93 mm, mean = 0.6, SD = 0.19), breathing (amplitude = 0.5-3.6 mm, mean = 1.56, SD = 0.99)), and swallowing (amplitude = 1.4-9.2 mm, mean = 4.7, SD = 2.4) were visualized.
Conclusion: Pulsation, breathing, and swallowing are sources of significant motion in the carotid artery wall. Such motion should be considered in the future to improve carotid artery image quality.