Evaluation of 3D multi-contrast joint intra- and extracranial vessel wall cardiovascular magnetic resonance

J Cardiovasc Magn Reson. 2015 May 27;17(1):41. doi: 10.1186/s12968-015-0143-z.


Background: Multi-contrast vessel wall cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) has demonstrated its capability for atherosclerotic plaque morphology measurement and component characterization in different vasculatures. However, limited coverage and partial volume effect with conventional two-dimensional (2D) techniques might cause lesion underestimation. The aim of this work is to evaluate the performance in a) blood suppression and b) vessel wall delineation of three-dimensional (3D) multi-contrast joint intra- and extracranial vessel wall imaging at 3T.

Methods: Three multi-contrast 3D black blood (BB) sequences with T1, T2 and heavy T1 weighting and a custom designed 36-channel neurovascular coil covering the entire intra- and extracranial vasculature have been used and investigated in this study. Two healthy subjects were recruited for sequence parameter optimization and twenty-five patients were consecutively scanned for image quality and blood suppression assessment. Qualitative image scores of vessel wall delineation as well as quantitative Signal-to-Noise Ratio (SNR) and Contrast-to-Noise Ratio (CNR) were evaluated at five typical locations ranging from common carotid arteries to middle cerebral arteries.

Results: The 3D multi-contrast images acquired within 15mins allowed the vessel wall visualization with 0.8 mm isotropic spatial resolution covering intra- and extracranial segments. Quantitative wall and lumen SNR measurements for each sequence showed effective blood suppression at all selected locations (P < 0.0001). Although the wall-lumen CNR varied across measured locations, each sequence provided good or adequate image quality in both intra- and extracranial segments.

Conclusions: The proposed 3D multi-contrast vessel wall technique provides isotropic resolution and time efficient solution for joint intra- and extracranial vessel wall CMR.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Artifacts
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / pathology*
  • Carotid Artery, Common / pathology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Contrast Media*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional*
  • Intracranial Arteriosclerosis / pathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Middle Cerebral Artery / pathology*
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Signal-To-Noise Ratio


  • Contrast Media