Objectives: We sought to determine the optimal dose of a contrast agent with known high relaxivity on 1.5 and 3 Tesla scanners that would achieve the best compromise between image quality and scan time for the clinical application of contrast-enhanced susceptibility-weighted imaging (CE-SWI).
Methods: Pre- and postcontrast SWI was performed with different contrast agent doses (0.05, 0.1, and 0.2 mmol/kg gadobenate dimeglumine) at both 1.5 and 3 T in 6 healthy volunteers, resulting in 72 examinations. Venograms were created from minimum intensity projection reconstructions over specified deep white matter volumes to enhance the visual appearance of connected venous structures. Three independent radiologists blindly rated the visibility of the veins on a continuous scale of 1 to 10. A general linear model was used for statistical evaluation, with fixed effects of the contrast agent dose, the field strength, the rater and the patients as a random effect.
Results: With CE-SWI, we found significant differences in the visibility of the deep veins dependent on the contrast media dose (P=0.02). At 3 T, the visibility of deep venous vessels, with regard to susceptibility effect, image quality, and scan time reduction after a standard contrast agent dose 0.1 mmol/kg was significantly better than that achieved with 0.05 mmol/kg. The visibility was considered equal with 0.1 mmol/kg of the contrast agent to the precontrast images and a dose of 0.2 mmol/kg. At 1.5 T, no significant difference was found between the 4 contrast agent doses. We found no difference in the visibility of the veins with the shorter sequences at 3 T compared with the sequences at 1.5 T.
Conclusions: Only a standard dose (0.1 mmol/kg) of gadobenate dimeglumine is required to achieve the optimum susceptibility effect and image quality at 3 T, together with a reduced scan time. This result can be attributed to the higher relaxivity of gadobenate dimeglumine, compared with conventional gadolinium chelates.