An Integrated Automated Analysis Method for Quantifying Vessel Stenosis and Plaque Burden From Carotid MRI Images: Combined Postprocessing of MRA and Vessel Wall MR

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Abstract

Background and Purpose—

We report the evaluation of a semiautomated method for in vivo assessment of the severity of carotid atherosclerosis with minimal user interaction that combines 3-dimensional contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (CE-MRA) and vessel wall magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Methods—

Lumen and outer-wall contours were automatically detected, and stenosis and plaque burden were estimated. The method was tested on 22 subjects (352 postcontrast, T1-weighted cross sections and 3-dimensional CE-MRA).

Results—

We observed good correlation with expert contours: lumen and outer-wall area (r=0.96) and the degree of stenosis (r=0.97).

Conclusions—

The fusion of MRA and MRI reduces user interaction and improves contour detection, providing reproducible parameters to assess the severity of atherosclerosis.

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