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Eur Radiol. 2007 Mar;17 Suppl 2:B24-9.

Whole-body magnetic resonance angiography with blood-pool agents.

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Institute for Clinical Radiology, University Hospital Munich, Marchioninstrasse 15, 81377 Munich, Germany.


Although often asymptomatic, peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is associated with significant morbidity in a large proportion of patients. Atherosclerosis is the underlying pathology in many instances, involving the whole arterial tree. Whole-body magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) permits rapid, non-invasive and accurate evaluation of the entire vascular system and can be used for both diagnostic purposes and monitoring of vascular involvement in diseases such as diabetes, Marfan's syndrome and Takayasu arteritis. MRA has been used successfully in the identification of high-grade stenosis in PAD, abnormalities of the ileocaval veins and carotid plaque imaging. Carotid disease is significantly correlated with severe coronary artery disease and renal artery atherosclerosis. Symptomatic lesions in one vascular bed are often related to additional asymptomatic atherosclerotic lesions in other vascular regions. MRA may be advantageous over computed tomographic angiography because it can be performed with contrast media virtually devoid of serious toxicity and without utilization of ionizing radiation. Display of the entire arterial vasculature can be achieved in <90 s, with excellent sensitivity and specificity. Recent technological advances, such as parallel imaging and the implementation of dedicated matrix coils, have further increased image quality, and in combination with the blood-pool contrast agents, such as gadofosveset trisodium (Vasovist, Bayer Schering Pharma AG, Berlin, Germany), extended imaging time, higher spatial resolution and larger anatomical coverage can be achieved.

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