Purpose: To investigate the image quality and vessel depiction of renal MRA with integrated parallel imaging techniques (iPAT) using acceleration factors of 2 and 3.
Materials and methods: In this prospective study renal MRA was performed on 14 and 12 patients with acceleration factors of 3 and 2, respectively. For the MRA a 3D-GRE sequence with an acquired spatial resolution of 0.9 x 0.8 x 1.0 mm(3) was applied (TR/TE = 3.79 msec/1.39 msec, FOV = 400 mm x 320 mm, acquired matrix = 512 x 384, flip angle = 25 degrees) on a 32-channel 1.5T MR scanner. The acquisition time was 26 seconds with iPAT 2, and 19 seconds with iPAT3. All parameters other than acquisition time and acceleration factor were kept constant. To assess the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) we performed repetitive phantom measurements using iPAT 2 and 3. The images were rated by two radiologists in terms of noise, artifacts, and the quality of vessel depiction for the proximal, segmental, and subsegmental renal artery. A Mann-Whitney U-test and kappa-test were used for statistical analysis.
Results: SNR decreased significantly with iPAT 3 in the phantom measurements. The two readers found no difference in noise, but significantly fewer artifacts with iPAT 3. The depiction of segmental vessels was significantly better for both readers with iPAT 3, and the subsegmental vessels were rated significantly better by one reader. iPAT 3 also resulted in a better interreader agreement.
Conclusion: The use of iPAT 3 for renal MRA enables a better depiction of the distal parts of the renal artery. The decrease in SNR is not diagnostically impairing.
(c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.