Semiautomated 3D mapping of aneurysmal wall enhancement with 7T-MRI

Sci Rep. 2021 Sep 15;11(1):18344. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-97727-0.


Aneurysm wall enhancement (AWE) after the administration of contrast gadolinium is a potential biomarker of unstable intracranial aneurysms. While most studies determine AWE subjectively, this study comprehensively quantified AWE in 3D imaging using a semi-automated method. Thirty patients with 33 unruptured intracranial aneurysms prospectively underwent high-resolution imaging with 7T-MRI. The signal intensity (SI) of the aneurysm wall was mapped and normalized to the pituitary stalk (PS) and corpus callosum (CC). The CC proved to be a more reliable normalizing structure in detecting contrast enhancement (p < 0.0001). 3D-heatmaps and histogram analysis of AWE were used to generate the following metrics: specific aneurysm wall enhancement (SAWE), general aneurysm wall enhancement (GAWE) and focal aneurysm wall enhancement (FAWE). GAWE was more accurate in detecting known morphological determinants of aneurysm instability such as size ≥ 7 mm (p = 0.049), size ratio (p = 0.01) and aspect ratio (p = 0.002). SAWE and FAWE were aneurysm specific metrics used to characterize enhancement patterns within the aneurysm wall and the distribution of enhancement along the aneurysm. Blebs were easily identified on 3D-heatmaps and were more enhancing than aneurysm sacs (p = 0.0017). 3D-AWE mapping may be a powerful objective tool in characterizing different biological processes of the aneurysm wall.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / methods*
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional / standards
  • Intracranial Aneurysm / diagnostic imaging*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / standards
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sensitivity and Specificity