To compare black-blood multicontrast carotid imaging at 3T and 1.5T and assess compatibility between morphological measurements of carotid arteries at 1.5T and 3T.Materials and Methods:
Five healthy subjects and two atherosclerosis patients were scanned in 1.5T and 3T scanners with a similar protocol providing transverse T1-, T2-, and proton density (PD)-weighted black-blood images using a fast spin-echo sequence with single- (T1-weighted) or multislice (PD-/T2-weighted) double inversion recovery (DIR) preparation. Wall and lumen signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and wall/lumen contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) were compared in 44 artery cross-sections by paired t-test. Interscanner variability of the lumen area (LA), wall area (WA), and mean wall thickness (MWT) was assessed using Bland-Altman analysis.Results:
Wall SNR and lumen/wall CNR significantly increased (P < 0.0001) at 3T with a 1.5-fold gain for T1-weighted images and a 1.7/1.8-fold gain for PD-/T2-weighted images. Lumen SNR did not differ for single-slice DIR T1-weighted images (P = 0.2), but was larger at 3T for multislice DIR PD-/T2-weighted images (P = 0.01/0.03). The LA, WA, and MWT demonstrated good agreement with no significant bias (P 0.5), a coefficient of variation (CV) of <10%, and intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of >0.95.Conclusion:
This study demonstrated significant improvement in SNR, CNR, and image quality for high- resolution black-blood imaging of carotid arteries at 3T. Morphologic measurements are compatible between 1.5T and 3T.