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Possibilities and Limitations in Imaging the Intracranial Arteries in the Context of a Contrast-Enhanced Whole-Body Magnetic Resonance Angiographic Screening Protocol at 1.5 Versus 3 Tesla

Buhk, Jan-Hendrik MD*; Ries, Thorsten MD; Finck-Wedel, Anna-Katharina MD*; Beil, Frank Ulrich MD; Adam, Gerhard MD*; Weber, Christoph MD*

Journal of Computer Assisted Tomography: January-February 2011 - Volume 35 - Issue 1 - p 4-8
doi: 10.1097/RCT.0b013e3181f124d9
Original Articles

Objective: Evaluation of the diagnostic detectability of the intracranial vasculature on contrast-enhanced whole-body magnetic resonance angiographic (WBMRA) scans at 1.5 versus 3 T.

Methods: Twenty-seven patients with hereditary hyperlipidemia participated. Two experienced neuroradiologists scored the image quality regarding the intracranial arteries applying a 5-point scale. Stenoses and other findings were documented. Weighted κ-statistics were calculated to assess interobserver agreement.

Results: Interobserver agreement was very good. Image quality scoring resulted in the following mean values: 3.0 at 1.5 T versus 3.9 at 3 T (P < 0.001). Venous contrast overlay and insufficient anatomic coverage occurred in both groups. Three stenoses were found at both field strengths.

Conclusions: Assessment of the intracranial vasculature on WBMRA data is basically feasible; image quality at 3 T seems superior. Shortcomings appear because of venous contamination and insufficient volume coverage. Therefore, adding a dedicated intracranial MRA to a WBMRA protocol would substantially increase diagnostic certainty.

From the Departments of *Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, †Neuroradiology, and ‡Internal Medicine, Medical Clinic III, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

Received for publication May 6, 2010; accepted July 8, 2010.

Reprints: Jan-Hendrik Buhk, MD, Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistraße 52, D-20246 Hamburg, Germany (e-mail:

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

The study was supported by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (project number AD 125/4-1).

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.