Renal artery assessment with non-enhanced MR angiography versus digital subtraction angiography: comparison between 1.5 and 3.0 T

  • Xiaoxia Guo
  • Ying Gong
  • Zhiyuan Wu
  • Fuhua Yan
  • Xiaoyi DingEmail author
  • Xueqin XuEmail author
Magnetic Resonance



To compare non-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (NE-MRA) between 1.5 and 3.0-T using a balanced steady-state free precession (bSSFP) sequence in the assessment of renal artery stenosis (RAS) with digital subtraction angiography (DSA) as a reference standard.


From March 2016 to May 2018, 81 patients suspected to have significant RAS were scheduled for DSA. All patients underwent NE-MRA at either 1.5 T or 3.0 T randomly before DSA. In total, 49 patients underwent 1.5-T NE-MRA, and 32 patients underwent 3.0-T NE-MRA. Image quality was assessed. Degree of stenosis evaluated with NE-MRA was compared with that with DSA.


NE-MRA provided excellent image qualities for segment 1 and segment 2 at 1.5 T and 3.0 T. Image qualities for segment 3 and segment 4 and the degree of renal artery branches were significantly higher at 3.0 T than at 1.5 T (p < 0.01). Stenoses evaluated with NE-MRA at 1.5 T (r = 0.853, p < 0.01) and 3.0 T (r = 0.811, p < 0.01) were highly correlated with those of DSA. The Bland-Altman plots showed overestimated degrees of stenosis at 1.5 T (mean bias, 3.5% ± 20.4) and 3.0 T (mean bias, 8.4% ± 21.7). The sensitivity and specificity for significant stenosis were 97.4% and 89.8% for 1.5 T and 95.7% and 91.1% for 3.0 T.


Both 1.5-T and 3.0-T bSSFP NE-MRA can reliably assess RAS, with high image quality and good diagnostic accuracy. Performing NE-MRA at 3.0 T significantly improved visualization of renal artery branches but showed greater tendency to overestimate stenosis compared with that at 1.5 T.

Key Points

• Both 1.5-T and 3.0-T NE-MRA provide excellent image quality and good diagnostic accuracy for RAS.

• NE-MRA at 3.0 T improved visualization of renal artery branches compared with that at 1.5 T.


Renal artery obstruction Magnetic resonance angiography Angiography, digital subtraction 



Balanced steady-state free precession


Contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography


Contrast-induced nephropathy


Digital subtraction angiography


Fibromuscular dysplasia


Maximum intensity projection


Non-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography


Nephrogenic systemic fibrosis


Peak systolic velocity


Renal artery stenosis


Funding information

The authors state that this work has not received any funding.

Compliance with ethical standards


The scientific guarantor of this publication is Xueqin Xu.

Conflict of interest

The authors of this manuscript declare no relationships with any companies, whose products or services may be related to the subject matter of the article.

Statistics and biometry

No complex statistical methods were necessary for this paper.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was not required for this study because this was a retrospective study.

Ethical approval

Institutional Review Board approval was obtained.


• retrospective

• diagnostic or prognostic study

• performed at one institution


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Interventional Radiology, Ruijin HospitalShanghai Jiao Tong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of RadiologyChildren’s Hospital of Fudan UniversityShanghaiChina
  3. 3.Department of Radiology, Ruijin HospitalShanghai Jiao Tong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina

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