MR Imaging of Iliofemoral Peripheral Vascular Calcifications using Proton Density-Weighted, In-Phase Three-Dimensional Stack-of-Stars Gradient Echo

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The presence of vascular calcifications helps to determine percutaneous access for interventional vascular procedures and has prognostic value for future cardiovascular events. Unlike CT, standard MRI techniques are insensitive to vascular calcifications. In this prospective study, we tested a proton density-weighted, in-phase (PDIP) three-dimensional (3D) stack-of-stars gradient-echo pulse sequence with approximately 1 mm3 isotropic spatial resolution at 1.5 Tesla (T) and 3T to detect iliofemoral peripheral vascular calcifications and correlated MR-determined lesion volumes with CT angiography (CTA).


The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board. The prototype PDIP stack-of-stars pulse sequence was applied in 12 patients with iliofemoral peripheral vascular calcifications who had undergone CTA.


Vascular calcifications were well visualized in all subjects, excluding segments near prostheses or stents. The location, size, and shape of the calcifications were similar to CTA. Quantitative analysis showed excellent correlation (r2 = 0.84; P < 0.0001) between MR- and CT-based measures of calcification volume. In one subject in whom three pulse sequences were compared, PDIP stack-of-stars outperformed cartesian 3D gradient-echo and point-wise encoding time reduction with radial acquisition (PETRA).


In this pilot study, a PDIP 3D stack-of-stars gradient-echo pulse sequence with high spatial resolution provided excellent image quality and accurately depicted the location and volume of iliofemoral vascular calcifications.

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