Purpose: To establish the feasibility of intracranial time-of-flight (TOF) MR angiography (MRA) at 7T using phased array coils and to compare its performance to 3T.
Materials and methods: In an initial study, five normal volunteers were scanned at 7T and 3T using eight-channel coils and standard acquisition parameters from a clinical TOF protocol. In a second study three additional studies were performed at 7T and 3T using empirically optimized 7T parameters. Contrast-to-noise (CNR) values were measured for major vessel segments.
Results: All measurements documented CNR increases at 7T, with a mean increase of 83% in the initial study and 88% in the second study. The CNR values achieved using the latter protocol were similar to the values obtained in the initial study, despite the 42% reduction expected due to the higher spatial resolution. CNR in the smaller peripheral vessels was increased dramatically, resulting in excellent visualization at high resolution.
Conclusion: TOF MRA at 7T demonstrated improved visualization of the intracranial vasculature, particularly the smaller peripheral vessels, and may benefit studies of small aneurysms, atherosclerosis, vasospasm, and vasculitis.
(c) 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.