Pulmonary vein imaging with unenhanced three-dimensional balanced steady-state free precession MR angiography: Initial clinical evaluation

Christopher J. François, David Tuite, Vibhas Deshpande, Renate Jerecic, Peter Weale, James C. Carr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


Purpose: To determine whether unenhanced magnetic resonance (MR) angiography performed with a three-dimensional (3D) segmented steady-state free precession (SSFP) sequence would be an alternative to contrast material-enhanced MR angiography for evaluating pulmonary veins (PVs) prior to and following radiofrequency (RF) ablation for atrial fibrillation. Materials and Methods:MR angiographic examinations of PVs, performed in 20 Methods: patients (nine men, 11 women;mean age, 56.4 years ±12.7 [standard deviation]), were retrospectively reviewed according to an institutional review board-approved protocol. The number of PVs and their orthogonal measurements obtained from the 3D SSFP images were compared with those obtained from contrast-enhanced MR angiography. Signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios were also compared. Qualitative assessment of both techniques was performed by independent reviewers who scored the image quality (on a scale of 1 to 5) on the basis of PV conspicuity. The presence of cardiac and extracardiac pathologic indicators was also determined. Bland-Altman and Wilcoxon signed rank statistical analyses were performed. Results: The mean difference in PV diameter measurements between contrast-enhanced MR angiography and 3D SSFP was -0.02 cm ±0.25. Signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios were higher for 3D SSFP images than for contrast-enhanced MR angiograms. Qualitatively, there was no significant difference in PV conspicuity between the techniques. Noncardiac pathologic indicators were detected in 10 of 20 patients on 3D SSFP images but not on contrast-enhanced MR angiograms. Conclusion: Unenhanced PV MR angiography performed by using a free-breathing 3D SSFP technique is as accurate as contrast-enhanced MR angiography for measuring PV diameter. This technique can be used for patients in whom contrast-enhanced computed tomographic or MR angiog-raphy is contraindicated and may be sufficient in all patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)932-939
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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