2017 Volume 16 Issue 2 Pages 146-151
Purpose: To quantitatively investigate in vitro the effects of flip angle (FA), receiver bandwidth (BW), echo time (TE), and magnetic field strength (FS) on image noise and artifacts induced by stent-assisted coiling on contrast-enhanced MR angiography (CE-MRA) images, as a first step towards optimization of imaging parameters.
Methods: A phantom simulating a cerebral aneurysm treated using stent-assisted coiling was filled with diluted gadolinium contrast medium, and MR angiography were obtained using varied parameters: FA (10°–60°), BW (164–780 Hz/pixel), and FS (1.5 and 3.0T). The TE varied automatically with BW because the TE was set to the smallest value. Three kinds of indices were semi-automatically calculated to quantify the severity of stent- and coil-induced artifacts: artificial lumen narrowing (ALN) representing a decrease in the in-stent luminal area, and relative in-stent signal (RISS) and relative in-coil signal (RISC) representing an increase in the in-stent and in-coil signal intensities, respectively. We also measured the ratio of in-stent signal to noise (IS/N) for each parameter. The variation in these indices with variations in FA, BW (TE), and FS was analyzed.
Results: An increase in FA led to an increase of up to 65% in the RISS, while the IS/N increased by up to three times. The 1.5T scanner indicated fewer artifacts (71% lower ALN, two times higher RISS, and 40% higher RISC) than the 3.0T scanner. On the other hand, the 1.5T scanner worsened the IS/N compared with the 3.0T scanner, although the difference was relatively small. Variation in BW (and hence, TE) led to a trade-off between artifact severity and IS/N.
Conclusion: A high FA and low FS should be used for improved artifact severity and IS/N on CE-MRA images of a stent-assisted coil. A wide BW (short TE) could improve artifact severity at the expense of the image noise.