High-grade stenoses of the internal carotid artery: comparison of high-resolution contrast enhanced 3D MRA, duplex sonography and power Doppler imaging
Clevert, D.-A.; Johnson, T.; Michaely, H.; Jung, E.M.; Flach, P.M.; Strautz, T.I.; Clevert, D.-A.; Reiser, M.; Schoenberg, S.O.
European Journal of Radiology 60(3): 379-386
The objective of this study was to determine the agreement and diagnostic accuracy of high-resolution contrast enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) with integrated parallel acquisition techniques (iPAT), color coded duplex ultrasound (CCDS) and power Doppler ultrasound (PD) in the assessment of high-grade stenoses of the internal carotid artery (ICA). Forty-four patients with 52 known or suspected stenoses of the internal carotid artery (ICA) were included in this prospective study. High-resolution MRA scans with a spatial resolution of 0.9 mm x 0.7 mm x 0.9 mm were acquired with an iPAT acceleration factor of 2 on a 1.5T MR system (Sonata Maestro Class, Siemens Medical Solutions, Erlangen, Germany) with a head, neck and body coil. For the 3D-CE MRA a fast spoiled gradient echo sequence (FLASH) was used. To compensate for the inherent signal loss with parallel imaging, a 1M contrast agent (gadobutrol, Gadovist, Schering, Berlin, Germany) was used. Stenoses were quantified by two readers in consensus in cross-sectional area measurements and graded according to the NASCET criteria. Using color coded duplex ultrasound (CCDS) and power Doppler (PD; Logiq 9, GE), the stenoses were also graded by two readers in consensus according to the NASCET criteria from intra- and post-stenotic diameter measurements. The results of MRA, CCDS and PD were compared to intraoperative findings or to follow-up examinations. High-resolution MRA allowed an excellent grading of vascular stenoses. In 70-90% degrees of stenosis there was an underestimation of the degree of stenosis in MRA as well as in CCDS. However, there was an overestimation of 90% stenoses in both MRA and CCDS. Pseudoocclusions with a lumen of less than one millimeter were occasionally rated as a complete occlusion in MRA. A combination of MRA and duplex sonography seems reasonable for the accurate grading of stenoses and determination of distal stenoses downstream. However, the accuracy of duplex ultrasound depends on the examiner's experience.