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AJNR Am J Neuroradiol. 1997 Jan;18(1):135-43.

Intracranial vascular stenosis and occlusion: MR angiographic findings.

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Department of Radiology, Kumamoto University, School of Medicine, Japan.



To investigate whether obtaining axial source images from three-dimensional Fourier transform (3DFT) time-of-flight MR angiography improves the detection of intracranial vascular stenosis and occlusion if added to maximum-intensity projection (MIP) images.


The angiograms of 103 patients who had MR angiography for evaluation of possible intracranial vascular disease were reviewed retrospectively in a quantitative and nonquantitative fashion. Diameters of vessels on MR angiograms were measured quantitatively by two reviewers using a magnifying loupe and compared with the results from conventional angiograms. Degrees of stenoocclusive disease were categorized into five classes; an artery with stenosis of 50% or greater was considered to be diseased. Another five observers also reviewed the MIP images with and without source images in a blinded fashion by means of nonquantitative visual inspection.


In all, 23 stenoocclusive lesions of 50% or greater were available for review. In the quantitative analysis, with MIP images alone, 14 (78%) of 18 moderate and severe stenoses and four (80%) of five occlusions were identified correctly. The addition of the source images increased the sensitivity to 100% for moderate and severe stenoses and to 100% for occluded vessels. In the visual inspection study, however, no statistically significant differences were found between interpretations of MIP images alone and those of MIP images in combination with source images.


In the quantitative study, interpretation of source images rather than MIP images reduced the tendency to overestimate stenosis seen with MR angiography and improved the sensitivity for detecting stenosis of 50% or greater. There was a discrepancy between the quantitative study and visual inspection. Experienced observers had a tendency to underestimate the degree of stenosis.

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