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J Magn Reson Imaging. 2010 Jan;31(1):177-84. doi: 10.1002/jmri.22016.

Measuring aortic diameter with different MR techniques: comparison of three-dimensional (3D) navigated steady-state free-precession (SSFP), 3D contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (CE-MRA), 2D T2 black blood, and 2D cine SSFP.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.



To compare nongated three-dimensional (3D) contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (CE-MRA) with 3D-navigated cardiac-gated steady-state free-precession bright blood (3D-nav SSFP) and noncontrast 2D techniques for ascending aorta dimension measurements.


Twenty-five clinical exams were reviewed to evaluate the ascending aorta at 1.5T using: breathhold cine bright blood (SSFP), cardiac-triggered T2 black blood (T2 BB), axial 3D-nav SSFP, and nongated 3D CE-MRA. Three radiologists independently measured aortic size at three specified locations for each sequence. Means, SDs, interobserver correlation, and vessel edge sharpness were statistically evaluated.


Measurements were greatest for 3D-nav SSFP and 3D CE-MRA and smallest for T2 BB. There was no significant difference between 3D-nav SSFP and 3D CE-MRA (P = 0.43-0.86), but significance was observed comparing T2 BB to all sequences. Interobserver agreement was uniformly >0.9, with T2 BB best, followed closely by 3D-nav SSFP and 2D cine SSFP, and 3D CE-MRA being the worst. Edge sharpness was significantly poorer for 3D CE-MRA compared to the other sequences (P < 0.001).


If diameter measurements are the main clinical concern, 3D-nav SSFP appears to be the best choice, as it has a sharp edge profile, is easy to acquire and postprocess, and shows very good interobserver correlation.

(c) 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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