A method is proposed for the quantitative assessment of coronary magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) acquisitions. The method is based on four parameters: signal-to-noise ratio (SNR); contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR); vessel length; and vessel-edge definition. A pig model (n=7) was used to illustrate the proposed quantitative analysis method. Three-dimensional gradient-echo coronary MRA was performed with and without exogenous contrast enhancement using a gadolinium-based blood-pool contrast agent (Vistarem, Guerbet, Aulnay-Sous-Bois, France). The acquired images could be well differentiated based on the four parameters. The SNR was calculated as 9.0±1.4 vs 10.4±2.1, the CNR as 6.2±0.8 vs 8.2±0.9, the vessel length as 48.2±11.6 vs 86.5±13.8 mm, and the vessel-edge definition as 4.9±1.5 vs 7.7±3.4. Different coronary MRA techniques can be evaluated objectively with the combined use of SNR, CNR, vessel length, and vessel-edge parameters.
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Acknowledgements. The authors acknowledge J. Doornbos from the Department of Radiology of the Leiden University Medical Center for technical support. This work was supported by the Schering visiting research fellowship grant funded by Schering AG, as part of the ECR Research and Education Grant 2002 (H.J. Lamb, Leiden, The Netherlands).
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