Multislice Dark-Blood Carotid Artery Wall Imaging: A 1.5 T and 3.0 T Comparison

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Purpose:To compare two multislice turbo spin-echo (TSE) carotid artery wall imaging techniques at 1.5 T and 3.0 T, and to investigate the feasibility of higher spatial resolution carotid artery wall imaging at 3.0 T.Materials and Methods:Multislice proton density-weighted (PDW), T2-weighted (T2W), and T1-weighted (T1W) inflow/outflow saturation band (IOSB) and rapid extended coverage double inversion-recovery (REX-DIR) TSE carotid artery wall imaging was performed on six healthy volunteers at 1.5 T and 3.0 T using time-, coverage-, and spatial resolution–matched (0.47 × 0.47 × 3 mm3) imaging protocols. To investigate whether improved signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) at 3.0 T could allow for improved spatial resolution, higher spatial resolution imaging (0.31 × 0.31 × 3 mm3) was performed at 3.0 T. Carotid artery wall SNR, carotid lumen SNR, and wall-lumen contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) were measured.Results:Signal gain at 3.0 T relative to 1.5 T was observed for carotid artery wall SNR (223%) and wall-lumen CNR (255%) in all acquisitions (P < 0.025). IOSB and REX-DIR images were found to have different levels of SNR and CNR (P < 0.05) with IOSB values observed to be larger. Normalized to a common imaging time, the higher spatial resolution imaging at 3.0 T and the lower spatial resolution imaging at 1.5 T provided similar levels of wall-lumen CNR (P = NS).Conclusion:Multislice carotid wall imaging at 3.0 T with IOSB and REX-DIR benefits from improved SNR and CNR relative to 1.5 T, and allows for higher spatial resolution carotid artery wall imaging.

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