In vivo MR imaging of pulmonary arteries of normal and experimental emboli in small animals

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PurposeTo demonstrate the feasibility of pulmonary MRA in living rodents.Materials and MethodsA three-dimensional (3D) gradient echo sequence was adapted to perform a time-of-flight (TOF) angiography of rat lung. Angiogram with a spatial resolution of 195 × 228 × 228 μm3 was acquired in around 33 minutes. The method was then applied in animals before and after pulmonary embolism (PE) induction. Section of the proximal right pulmonary artery was measured and compared between the two populations.ResultsGood quality images were obtained with a contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) of 9 ± 3 in the proximal part of the pulmonary artery. Cross-section areas of the right main artery are statistically different before (3.45 ± 0.69 mm2) and after induction of PE (4.3 ± 0.86 mm2).ConclusionThis noninvasive tool permits angiogram acquisition at around 200 μm spatial resolution and objective distinction between healthy and embolized arteries.

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