Comparison of Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Angiography and Digital Subtraction Angiography in Patients With Chronic Critical Ischemia and Tissue Loss

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Rationale and Objectives:

To compare the ability of intra-arterial digital subtraction angiography (IA-DSA) and total runoff contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (CE-MRA) to demonstrate peripheral arterial anatomy, specifically in patients with chronic critical ischemia and tissue loss.

Materials and Methods:

Twenty-three consecutive patients with chronic critical ischemia and tissue loss underwent CE-MRA and IA-DSA within 2 days. Two teams, consisting of an interventional radiologist and vascular surgeon who were blinded to each other's results, determined the number of named arteries (21 segments) and the presence of ≥50% stenosis or occlusion.


Compared with IA-DSA, both teams detected significantly more arterial segments with CE-MRA, both above and below the knee (team 1: above knee 7.0 versus 5.2, P = 0.002, and below knee 8.5 versus 5.4, P < 0.001; team 2: above knee 7.1 versus 5.4, P = 0.004, and below knee 8.3 versus 5.9, P < 0.001). Interobserver agreement between the 2 teams with regard to presence of arteries and the presence of stenoses and/or occlusions yielded kappa values of 0.76 (95% confidence interval 0.71–0.81) for IA-DSA and 0.73 (95% confidence interval 0.66–0.80) for CE-MRA. Treatment was changed based on the CE-MRA findings in 8/23 (35%) patients.


In the present study CE-MRA detected more patent arteries than IA-DSA in patients with chronic critical ischemia and tissue loss. CE-MRA can modify the choice of therapeutic strategy in these patients.

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