Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate a high spatial resolution 3-dimensional (3D) contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance (CE-MR) venography protocol for evaluation of intracranial venous system using highly accelerated parallel imaging at 3.0 T.
Materials and methods: Ten patients (4 male, 6 female; age, 38-76 years) with suspected cerebrovascular disease were prospectively studied on a 32-channel 3.0 T MR system. After a single intravenous contrast injection, high spatial resolution 3D CE-MR angiography of the entire supraaortic arteries was performed followed immediately by 3D cerebral CE-MR venography. By using a fast 3D gradient-recalled-echo sequence with elliptic centric k-space ordering and highly accelerated parallel acquisition (acceleration factor 3 and 2 in phase and slice encoding direction, respectively), 3D cerebral CE-MR venography was acquired with voxel dimensions of 0.7 x 0.7 x 0.8 mm in 24 seconds. Image evaluation was performed independently by 2 neuroradiologists for overall image quality, presence of noise, and artifacts. The image quality of 30 venous segments was evaluated in each subject using a 1 to 4 scoring scale. In 2 patients, catheter angiography was available for correlation. Statistical analysis of data was performed by using Wilcoxon rank sum test and kappa coefficient.
Results: All studies were determined to be of diagnostic image quality by both observers. The majority (90%) of cerebral venous segments were evaluated to be of diagnostic image quality (median, 3; range, 3-4) by both readers and with excellent interobserver agreement (kappa = 0.86; 95% confidence interval, 0.79-0.93). One meningioma invading the superior sagittal sinus and one superior sagittal sinus fistula were detected subsequently confirmed by conventional angiography.
Conclusion: High spatial resolution 3D cerebral CE-MR venography is feasible and promising. Using a 32-channel 3.0 T system combined with multichannel array coils effectively supports highly accelerated parallel imaging, enabling subsequent acquisition of both high spatial resolution CE-MR angiography and CE-MR venography after a single contrast injection without impairing the image quality. More extensive clinical studies are warranted to establish the range of applications and confirm the accuracy of this technique.