Contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography of carotid arterial wall in pigs
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This study was designed to investigate the effects of contrast agents on MR images of balloon-injured carotid arteries containing atherosclerotic-like lesions. We have evaluated an intravascular contrast agent, MS-325 (METASYN INC., Cambridge, MA) and an extravascular contrast agent, Optimark, (Mallinckrodt Medical Inc., St. Louis, MO) on MR angiograms obtained 4 weeks after balloon hyperinflation-induced injury of the left common carotid artery in 12 hypercholesterolemic minipigs. High in-plane resolution (.8 x .4 mm2), thin slice (1 mm) time-of-flight gradient echo sequences were used to acquire the MR angiographic images. Vascular lumen definition was compared before and after a single bolus intravenous injection of a contrast agent. Digital subtraction angiograms were obtained from all pigs after MR imaging. High grade stenosis developed in 1 of the 12 pigs and five pigs had complete occlusion of the injured vessel. The remaining pigs exhibited essentially no visible stenoses as assessed either by MR angiography or digital subtraction angiography. The vessel walls of the stenosed and occluded vessels were visible after the injection of either intravascular or extravascular contrast agent. Histologic analyses showed well developed neovascularization in the neointima or occlusive thrombosis. We conclude that the observed contrast-enhanced vessel wall is caused by an increased vascular supply associated with thrombosis and neointimal thickening that leads to an accumulation of contrast agent in the abnormal vessel walls after the injection of the T1-shortening paramagnetic contrast agent.
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