Survey of the American Society of Neuroradiology Membership on the Use and Value of Extracranial Carotid Vessel Wall MRI

AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 2022 Dec;43(12):1756-1761. doi: 10.3174/ajnr.A7720. Epub 2022 Nov 24.


Background and purpose: Extracranial vessel wall MRI (EC-VWI) contributes to vasculopathy characterization. This survey study investigated EC-VWI adoption by American Society of Neuroradiology (ASNR) members and indications and barriers to implementation.

Materials and methods: The ASNR Vessel Wall Imaging Study Group survey on EC-VWI use, frequency, applications, MR imaging systems and field strength used, protocol development approaches, vendor engagement, reasons for not using EC-VWI, ordering provider interest, and impact on clinical care was distributed to the ASNR membership between April 2, 2019, to August 30, 2019.

Results: There were 532 responses; 79 were excluded due to minimal, incomplete response and 42 due to redundant institutional responses, leaving 411 responses. Twenty-six percent indicated that their institution performed EC-VWI, with 66.3% performing it ≤1-2 times per month, most frequently on 3T MR imaging, with most using combined 3D and 2D protocols. Protocols most commonly included pre- and postcontrast T1-weighted imaging, TOF-MRA, and contrast-enhanced MRA. Inflammatory vasculopathy (63.3%), plaque vulnerability assessments (61.1%), intraplaque hemorrhage (61.1%), and dissection-detection/characterization (51.1%) were the most frequent applications. For those not performing EC-VWI, the reasons were a lack of ordering provider interest (63.9%), lack of radiologist time/interest (47.5%) or technical support (41.4%) for protocol development, and limited interpretation experience (44.9%) and knowledge of clinical applications (43.7%). Reasons given by 46.9% were that no providers approached radiology with interest in EC-VWI. If barriers were overcome, 51.1% of those not performing EC-VWI indicated they would perform it, and 40.6% were unsure; 48.6% did not think that EC-VWI had impacted patient management at their institution.

Conclusions: Only 26% of neuroradiology groups performed EC-VWI, most commonly due to limited clinician interest. Improved provider and radiologist education, protocols, processing techniques, technical support, and validation trials could increase adoption.

MeSH terms

  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography* / methods
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Vascular Diseases*