3.0 T vs. 1.5 T MR Angiography: In Vitro Comparison of Intravascular Stent Artifacts

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Purpose:To evaluate the signal characteristics of different iliac artery stents in MR angiography (MRA) at 3 T in comparison with 1.5 T.Materials and Methods:Sixteen iliac artery stents were implanted in plastic tubes filled with a solution of Gd-DTPA and imaged at 3 T and 1.5 T using a T1-weighted 3D spoiled gradient-echo sequence. Image analysis included a subjective assessment of artifact characteristics, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) measurements in stented and unstented vessel parts, and quantitative measurements of total artifact size.Results:The pattern of stent artifacts inside the stents evidently did not differ at 3 T and 1.5 T. The average total size of the artifact areas surrounding the stents was significantly larger at 3 T (P < 0.03). However, within the stented part of the vessel phantom, the signal of the lumen and its contrast to modeled surrounding tissue was significantly higher at the higher field. The mean SNR of the lumen increased from 95.5 at 1.5 T to 127.3 at 3 T, and the CNR of the vessel increased from 70.3 to 93.Conclusion:Assessment of the stent lumen in iliac artery stents in a phantom model is not compromised by imaging at 3 T compared to 1.5 T. The signal gain inside the stented part of the vessel lumen at higher field compensates for the higher degree of stent artifacts seen in stents made of steel or cobalt. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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