Magnetic resonance angiography of the aorta

Ann Vasc Dis. 2011;4(4):271-85. doi: 10.3400/avd.di.11.00822. Epub 2011 Nov 30.


Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is capable of imaging arteries in the half to whole body by a single acquisition without a nephrotoxic contrast medium, and acquired images can be reconstructed into a specific cross-sectional view in an arbitrary directions. MRA is applicable for vessels non-reachable by a catheter approach, and collateral vessels can be fully visualized. Since MRA is minimally-invasive with no exposure to ionized radiation, it can be repeatedly applied for follow-up. However, there are also disadvantages: the temporal and spatial resolutions are inferior to those of X-ray angiography, and, at present, it cannot be used as a guide for intervention. Moreover, gadolinium administrations may cause NSF in patients who have lost renal function, as a new risk. Accordingly, strict consideration is required for an indication of its application. Development of non-contrast MRA and evaluation of the wall itself may draw more attention in the future. Plaque imaging is being routinely performed nowadays, and the measurement of vascular wall shear stress, which has a close association with arteriosclerosis, may become possible by utilizing the time-resolved phase-contrast method capable of measuring the time-resolved velocity vectors of blood flow throughout the body. (*English Translation of J Jpn Coll Angiol, 2009, 49: 503-516.).

Keywords: atherosclerosis; contrast-enhanced MRA; flow analysis; non-contrast MRA.