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Neuroradiology. 2004 Dec;46(12):955-72. Epub 2004 Dec 4.

MR angiography of the intracranial vessels: technical aspects and clinical applications.

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Neuroradiology Section, Department of Radiology, University Hospital Antwerp, Wilrijkstraat 10, 2650, Edegem, Belgium.


Evaluation of the intracranial circulation provides valuable information in the diagnosis and prognosis of various intracranial abnormalities and may influence patient management. Technical advances in magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) have improved the accuracy of this technique in various clinical situations, such as aneurysms, arterial and venous steno-occlusive diseases, vascular malformations, inflammatory arterial diseases, preoperative assessment of the patency of dural sinuses, and congenital vascular abnormalities. In many centers, MRA has replaced conventional digital subtraction angiography in screening for intracranial vascular disease, because of its non-invasive and non-ionizing character. Several MRA techniques have been developed for the imaging of the intracranial vascular system, such as time-of-flight MRA (TOF MRA), phase-contrast MRA (PC MRA), and more recently contrast-enhanced MRA (CE MRA). In the evaluation of steno-occlusive disease, the three-dimensional (3D) TOF-MRA technique is recommended for arterial evaluation, and the 2D TOF or 2D PC-MRA technique for venous evaluation. For the evaluation of aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs), we recommend the 3D CE-MRA technique, especially dynamic sequences in case of AVM. In this review, the technical aspects, limitations, and optimization of these MRA techniques will be discussed together with their indications in intracranial disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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