BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Intracranial vessel wall MR imaging plays an increasing role in diagnosing intracranial vascular diseases. For a complete assessment, pre- and postcontrast sequences are required, and including other sequences, these result in a long scan duration. Ideally, the scan time of the vessel wall sequence should be reduced. The purpose of this study was to evaluate different intracranial vessel wall sequence variants to reduce scan duration, provided an acceptable image quality can be maintained.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Starting from the vessel wall sequence that we use clinically (6:42 minutes), 6 scan variants were tested (scan duration ranging between 4:39 and 8:24 minutes), creating various trade-offs among spatial resolution, SNR, and contrast-to-noise ratio. In total, 15 subjects were scanned on a 3T MR imaging scanner: In 5 subjects, all 7 variants were performed precontrast-only, and in 10 other subjects, the fastest variant (4:39 minutes) and our clinically used variant (6:42 minutes) were performed pre- and postcontrast.
RESULTS: The fastest variant (4:39 minutes) had higher or comparable SNRs/contrast-to-noise ratios of the intracranial vessel walls compared with the reference sequence (6:42 minutes). Qualitative assessment showed that the contrast-to-noise ratio was most suppressed in the fastest variant of 4:39 minutes and the variant of 6:42 minutes pre- and postcontrast. SNRs/contrast-to-noise ratios of the fastest variant were all, except one, higher compared with the variant of 6:42 minutes (P < .008). Furthermore, the fastest variant (4:39 minutes) detected all vessel wall lesions identified on the 6:42-minute variant.
CONCLUSIONS: A 30% faster vessel wall sequence was developed with high SNRs/contrast-to-noise ratios that resulted in good visibility of the intracranial vessel wall.
- Journal Article