Introduction: For three-dimensional (3D) imaging with magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) of the cerebral and cervical circulation, both a high temporal and a high spatial resolution with isovolumetric datasets are of interest. In an initial evaluation, we analyzed the potential of contrast-enhanced (CE) time-resolved 3D-MRA as an adjunct for neurovascular MR imaging.
Methods: In ten patients with various cerebrovascular disorders and vascularized tumors in the cervical circulation, high-speed MR acquisition using parallel imaging with the GeneRalized Autocalibrating Partially Parallel Acquisitions (GRAPPA) algorithm on a 1.5-T system with a temporal resolution of 1.5 s per dataset and a nearly isovolumetric spatial resolution was applied. The results were assessed and compared with those from conventional MRA and digital subtraction angiography (DSA).
Results: CE time-resolved 3D-MRA enabled the visualization and characterization of high-flow arteriovenous shunts in cases of vascular malformations or hypervascularized tumors. In steno-occlusive disease, the method provided valuable additional information about altered vessel perfusion compared to standard MRA techniques such as time-of-flight (TOF) MRA. The use of a nearly isovolumetric voxel size allowed a free-form interrogation of 3D datasets. Its comparatively low spatial resolution was found to be the major limitation.
Conclusion: In this preliminary analysis, CE time-resolved 3D-MRA was revealed to be a promising complementary MRA sequence that enabled the visualization of contrast flow dynamics in various types of neurovascular disorders and vascularized cervical tumors.