Purpose: To evaluate and compare the diagnostic image quality resulting from three contrast agent dose regimens for 3.0-T high-spatial-resolution three-dimensional magnetic resonance (MR) angiography of the supraaortic arteries.
Materials and methods: Institutional review board approval was obtained; informed consent was waived for this HIPAA-compliant study. One hundred twenty consecutive patients who underwent 3.0-T three-dimensional high-spatial-resolution contrast material-enhanced MR angiography of the supraaortic arteries with an identical acquisition protocol were assigned to either the high-dose (0.154 mmol per kilogram of body weight), intermediate-dose (0.097 mmol/kg), or low-dose (0.047 mmol/kg) group. Two readers evaluated resulting images for arterial definition, venous contamination, and arterial stenosis. Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) were evaluated at six consistent sites. Statistical analysis was performed with the Kruskal-Wallis, Wilcoxon signed rank, and analysis of variance tests and the kappa coefficient.
Results: Readers 1 and 2 scored vascular definition as excellent or sufficient for diagnosis in 1311 of 1360 segments and in 1313 of 1360 segments in the high-dose group (kappa = 0.73), in 1321 of 1354 and in 1319 of 1354 segments in the intermediate-dose group (kappa = 0.77), and in 1322 of 1350 and in 1320 of 1350 segments in the low-dose group (kappa= 0.66), respectively. Arterial occlusive disease was detected by reader 1 in 52, 27, and 98 segments in the high-, intermediate-, and low-dose groups, respectively. Arterial occlusive disease was detected by reader 2 in 48, 25, and 100 segments in high-, intermediate-, and low-dose groups, respectively. No significant difference existed among the three groups regarding arterial definition scores (reader 1, P = .21; reader 2, P = .25) and venous contamination scores (reader 1, P = .38; reader 2, P = .35). SNRs and CNRs were lower in the low-dose group (P < .01).
Conclusion: At 3.0 T, high-spatial-resolution MR angiography of the supraaortic arteries can be performed with contrast agent doses as low as 0.047 mmol/kg, without compromising image quality, acquisition speed, or spatial resolution.
Supplemental material: http://radiology.rsnajnls.org/cgi/content/full/249/3/980/DC1http://radiology.rsnajnls.org/cgi/content/full/249/3/980/DC2.