, Volume 4, Issue 2, pp 165-170
Date: 13 Jan 2011

Coronary MRA: Technical Advances and Clinical Applications

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Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) has become a routine clinical tool to evaluate arteries in the head and neck, abdomen, and extremities. However, coronary MRA (CMRA) is a more challenging task. A number of factors have hindered its progress, including: 1) the motion of the heart during cardiac and respiratory cycles; 2) the highly tortuous courses; and 3) the small sizes of coronary arteries. It is important to have an appropriate balance between signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), imaging speed, and spatial resolution when determining imaging parameters of CMRA. Whole heart CMRA at 1.5 T has been successfully introduced as a method of choice that can provide visualization of all three major coronary arteries in a single 3D volume. Recent single and multicenter studies suggest that 1.5 T whole heart CMRA can eliminate the need for diagnostic coronary catheterization in many patients at risk of coronary artery disease. 3.0 T cardiovascular MR has become an area of active research in recent years. Contrast-enhanced coronary MRA at 3.0 T improves SNR and contrast-to-noise ratio and shows high accuracy in the detection of significant coronary artery stenoses.