In this study, a turbo spin-echo (TSE) based motion-sensitized driven-equilibrium (MSDE) sequence was used as an alternative black-blood (BB) carotid MRI imaging scheme. The MSDE sequence was first optimized for more efficient residual blood signal suppression in the carotid bulb of healthy volunteers. Effective contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR(eff)) and residual signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) in the lumen measured from MSDE images were then compared to those measured from inflow saturation (IS) and double inversion-recovery (DIR) images. Statistically significant higher CNR(eff) and lower lumen SNR were obtained from MSDE images. To assess MSDE sequence in a clinical carotid protocol, 42 locations from six subjects with 50% to 79% carotid stenosis by duplex ultrasound were scanned with both MSDE and multislice DIR. The comparison showed that MSDE images present significantly higher CNR and lower lumen SNR compared to corresponding multislice DIR images. The vessel wall area and mean wall thickness measurements in MSDE images were slightly but significantly lower than those obtained with other blood suppression techniques. In conclusion, in vivo comparisons demonstrated that MSDE sequence can achieve better blood suppression and provide a more accurate depiction of the lumen boundaries by eliminating plaque mimicking artifacts in carotid artery (CA) imaging.
Copyright 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.