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J Neuroradiol. 1999 Jun;26(2):87-91.

Contrast-enhanced MR angiography (CE MRA) in the study of the carotid stenosis: comparison with digital subtraction angiography (DSA).

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Department of Radiology, Scientific Institute Casa Sollievo della Sofferenza, San Giovanni Rotondo, Fg, Italy.



To determine sensitivity, specificity and diagnostic accuracy of contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (CE MRA) compared to digital subtraction angiography (DSA) in the study of carotid stenosis.


We studied 23 patients with suspected cerebro-vascular insufficiency by carotid stenosis. Diagnostic examinations by means of CE MRA and DSA were carried out within 24 hours of each other. A 1.5 T superconductive magnet (Signa-General Electric) was used for CE MRA. This technique was performed using a fast spoiled gradient echo recalled (SPGR) sequence acquired in coronal plane 13 sec after injection of contrast medium. Imaging parameters were: TR/TE/FA 8 msec/1 msec/60 degrees, matrix 256 x 128, 1 excitation, FOV 18 x 13 cm, 28 slices per slab, slice thickness of 1 mm, acquisition time of 32 sec. The post-processing was performed using maximum intensity projection (MIP) and targeted MIP. For DSA examinations a Politron 1000 VR unit (Siemens) was used.


In the identification and quantification of lesions, CE MRA showed values of 100%. In particular, in comparison to DSA, CE MRA was accurate in diagnosing all true negative and positive cases. The location of stenosis evaluated with CE MRA agreed in all cases with DSA.


In our experience CE MRA proved to be a very valuable technique in diagnosing carotid stenosis, showing the same diagnostic accuracy as DSA. In this way CE MRA appears to be a substantial alternative technique to conventional MRA and other non-invasive diagnostic methods.

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