Unenhanced MR angiography of the thoracic aorta: Initial clinical evaluation

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE. In patients with difficult IV access or renal insufficiency, or in those who are pregnant, we hypothesized than an unenhanced 3D segmented steady-state free precession (SSFP) MR angiography (MRA) technique would be an alternative to contrast-enhanced MR angiography (CE-MRA) for the evaluation of vasculature. MATERIALS AND METHODS. MRA examinations of the thoracic aorta were retrospectively reviewed in 23 patients in whom both CE-MRA and 3D SSFP were performed. CE-MRA was performed using an ECG-gated gradient-echo FLASH sequence. Three-dimensional SSFP MRA was performed during free breathing using a motion-adaptive navigator technique. Quantitative assessment of the 3D SSFP and CE-MRA image sets was performed by comparing the aortic lumen diameter. The quality of the images of the aortic root (scale of 1-5) and the presence of cardiovascular and noncardiovascular pathology were independently determined for both techniques by two reviewers. Bland-Altman and Wilcoxon's signed-rank analyses were performed. RESULTS. The difference in orthogonal measurements of the aortic diameter between those made on images from the 3D SSFP and those made from the CE-MRA sequences was -0.042 cm. The aortic root was better visualized with 3D SSFP: score of 3.78 (of 5) for CE-MRA versus score of 4.65 (of 5) for 3D SSFP (p < 0.05). CONCLUSION. In patients in whom contrast material is contraindicated, unenhanced MRA using a 3D SSFP technique can be performed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)902-906
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Roentgenology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2008


  • Angiography
  • Aorta
  • MRI
  • Steady-state free precession
  • Thoracic aorta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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