Purpose: To compare the image quality and degree of vessel narrowing at flow-sensitive dephasing (FSD) magnetic resonance (MR) angiography of the hands with those at contrast material-enhanced MR angiography of the hands in patients with systemic sclerosis. Materials and Methods: In a single-center study with institutional review board approval and HIPAA compliance, six healthy volunteers and six patients with systemic sclerosis were imaged at 1.5-T nonenhanced FSD MR angiography followed by contrast-enhanced MR angiography. Sixteen vascular segments in four vessel groups were evaluated for image quality and assessed semiquantitatively for stenosis degree by using Likert scales. The nonparametric Wilcoxon signed rank test was used to perform pairwise comparisons of the MR angiographic techniques. P < .05 indicated statistical significance. Results: Performing FSD MR angiography, as compared with time-resolved MR angiography and high-spatial-resolution MR angiography, improved the image quality for all arterial segments combined in the control (mean score, 2.9 [FSD] vs 3.7 [time-resolved technique] and 3.1 [high-spatial-resolution technique]) and patient (mean score, 4.0 [FSD] vs 4.2 [time-resolved technique] and 4.3 [high-spatial-resolution technique]) groups. In the control subjects, FSD angiography depicted proper digital artery stenosis that was less severe (mean grade, 0.7) than that seen with the time-resolved (mean grade, 1.6) and high-spatial-resolution (mean grade, 1.0) techniques. In the patient group, FSD angiography depicted lower degrees of stenosis, with a lower mean grade for all segments combined (1.3) compared with the corresponding mean grades for time-resolved (1.5) and high-spatial-resolution (1.8) MR angiography. Conclusion: Preliminary data indicate that the proposed nonenhanced FSD MR angiographic technique is an improvement over existing contrast-enhanced techniques for evaluation of the hand vasculature in vasospastic disorders of the hand. Further technical improvements and a systematic clinical study are warranted.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging