Three-dimensional MR imaging of the coronary arteries: Preliminary clinical experience
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A three-dimensional (3D) magnetization-prepared (MP) rapid gradient-echo (RAGE) and 3D RAGE technique was used to image the coronary arteries in healthy volunteers and patients with known disease. Each sequence produced images of volumes partitioned into 16 thin sections with differing blood-fat-myocardium contrast. The two types of images were subtracted to null fat signal, thus producing a third image set that showed flowing blood. Total imaging time was about 17 minutes. In the volunteers, the 3D MP-RAGE and subtraction images consistently showed the morphology of the right coronary artery. The left main and left anterior descending arteries were also well seen. The circumflex artery was less consistently identified. Of the 17 diseased coronary artery segments identified at catheterization, 16 had altered signal intensity (narrowing, occlusion, reduced contrast-to-noise ratio, irregularity) on the subtraction images, while 13 had altered signal intensity on the 3D MP-RAGE images. The results indicate that this 3D MP-RAGE and 3D RAGE technique has potential utility as a screening method for coronary heart disease.
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