Rationale and objectives: The purpose of this study was to determine the effectiveness of combining basi-parallel anatomic scanning (BPAS)-magnetic resonance (MR) imaging findings with those of time-of-flight (TOF)-MR angiography (MRA) for differentiating vertebral artery dissection (VAD) from other causes of true artery narrowing such as atherosclerosis or an anatomical variation such as vertebral artery hypoplasia.
Materials and methods: Fifteen cases of VAD, 15 of atherosclerotic narrowing, and 8 of hypoplastic vertebral arteries were retrospectively selected for this study. Conventional MR sequences (T1WI, T2WI, and T2*WI, fluid attenuation inversion recovery, TOF-MRA) and BPAS images were analyzed by two readers blinded to the patients' clinical data and history. Receiver operating characteristic analyses were performed to compare the diagnostic capability of conventional MR sequences with and without BPAS imaging in suspected VAD cases.
Results: The area under the curve increased significantly by combining BPAS imaging findings with those of conventional MRI (0.72 vs. 0.96 and 0.81 vs. 0.99; P = .0022 and P = .0068, respectively, for readers 1 and 2). In addition, the sensitivity was 100% (15/15) for both readers and significantly greater than that of conventional MRI (53.3% [8/15] for both readers, P = .0156); however, specificities were not significantly different (82.6% [19/23] vs. 82.6% [19/23] and 91.33% [21/23] vs. 95.7% [22/23]). The interobserver agreement also improved by adding BPAS imaging.
Conclusions: Adding BPAS imaging to conventional MRI and MRA sequences can improve diagnostic capability and sensitivity in suspected VAD cases and be helpful in differentiating it from other causes of vertebral artery narrowing such as atherosclerosis or hypoplasia.
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