High-Resolution 3 T MR Microscopy Imaging of Arterial Walls

Authors: Sailer, Johannes; Rand, Thomas; Berg, Andreas; Sulzbacher, Irene; Peloschek, P.; Hölzenbein, Thomas; Lammer, Johannes

Source: CardioVascular and Interventional Radiology, Volume 29, Number 5, October 2006 , pp. 771-777(7)

Publisher: Springer

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To achieve a high spatial resolution in MR imaging that allows for clear visualization of anatomy and even histology and documentation of plaque morphology in in vitro samples from patients with advanced atherosclerosis. A further objective of our study was to evaluate whether T2-weighted high-resolution MR imaging can provide accurate classification of atherosclerotic plaque according to a modified American Heart Association classification.

T2-weighted images of arteries were obtained in 13 in vitro specimens using a 3 T MR unit (Medspec 300 Avance/Bruker, Ettlingen, Germany) combined with a dedicated MR microscopy system. Measurement parameters were: T2-weighted sequences with TR 3.5 sec, TE 15–120 msec; field of view (FOV) 1.4 × 1.4; NEX 8; matrix 192; and slice thickness 600 m. MR measurements were compared with corresponding histologic sections.

We achieved excellent spatial and contrast resolution in all specimens. We found high agreement between MR images and histology with regard to the morphology and extent of intimal proliferations in all but 2 specimens. We could differentiate fibrous caps and calcifications from lipid plaque components based on differences in signal intensity in order to differentiate hard and soft atheromatous plaques. Hard plaques with predominantly intimal calcifications were found in 7 specimens, and soft plaques with a cholesterol/lipid content in 5 cases. In all specimens, hemorrhage or thrombus formation, and fibrotic and hyalinized tissue could be detected on both MR imaging and histopathology.

High-resolution, high-field MR imaging of arterial walls demonstrates the morphologic features, volume, and extent of intimal proliferations with high spatial and contrast resolution in in vitro specimens and can differentiate hard and soft plaques.

Keywords: 3 T magnetic resonance; Atherosclerosis; MR microimaging; Plaque

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00270-005-0051-y

Affiliations: Email: johannes.sailer@univie.ac.at

Publication date: October 1, 2006

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