Visualization of the coronary arteries in three-dimensional reconstructions using respiratory gated magnetic resonance imaging

Coron Artery Dis. 1997 Jul;8(7):441-8. doi: 10.1097/00019501-199707000-00006.


Objective: To assess the applicability of respiratory-gated magnetic resonance coronary angiography, combined with three-dimensional image reconstruction, for visualizing the coronary arteries.

Methods: Twenty subjects (three healthy volunteers and 17 patients without stenoses detected by coronary angiography) were investigated. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed in a 1.5 T scanner using ECG-triggered gradient-echo sequences to acquire a volume data set consisting of 24-48 contiguous axial cross-sections of the heart (2 mm slice thickness, 1.17 mm x 1.17 mm in-plane resolution). Navigator-echo-based retrospective respiratory gating was used to minimize respiratory motion artifacts. Three-dimensional reconstructions of the heart were rendered using surface-display techniques. The length of the visualized coronary arteries was measured in curved multiplanar reconstructions.

Results: In the three-dimensional reconstructions, the left main artery (LMA) and left anterior descending artery (LADA) were visualized in 17 cases, the left circumflex artery (LCXA) in 15, and the right coronary artery (RCA) in 16 cases. Vessel continuity was uninterrupted in all 17 cases for the LMA, in 14 for the LADA, eight for the LCXA, and 13 for the RCA. The mean lengths of the visualized vessels were 14 +/- 7 mm for the LMA, 65 +/- 13 mm for the LADA, 45 +/- 16 mm for the LCXA, and 37 +/- 26 mm for the RCA. Reasons for impaired visibility of the LCXA and RCA were poor image quality due to there being a low contrast:noise ratio, motion artifacts, and incomplete coverage by the imaging volume.

Conclusions: Navigator-echo-based magnetic resonance imaging is a promising technique for investigating the coronary arteries. Acquisition of a volume data set permits three-dimensional displays of the coronary vessels.

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Coronary Vessels / anatomy & histology*
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiration