Increasing spatial resolution of 3T MRI scanning improves reproducibility of carotid arterial wall dimension measurements
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To improve carotid 3T magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) dimension measurements in patients with overt atherosclerotic carotid artery disease.
Materials and methods
In 31 patients with advanced atherosclerotic carotid artery disease, two high resolution (0.25 × 0.25 mm2; HR) and two routinely used low resolution (0.50 × 0.50 mm2; LR) carotid 3T MRI scans were performed within 1 month. After manual delineation of carotid wall contours in a dedicated image analyses program in eight slices covering the atherosclerotic plaque, image reproducibility, as well as the within-reader and between-reader variability were determined.
We found significantly higher intraclass correlation coefficients for total wall volume, mean wall area and mean wall thickness for the HR measurements (all p < 0.05). We found a significant lower signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratio for the HR compared to the LR measurements. The carotid arterial wall dimension measurements of all parameters were significantly lower for the HR compared to the LR measurements. No significant differences were observed between the within-reader and between-reader reproducibility for HR versus LR measurements.
Increasing the in-plane resolution improves the reproducibility of 3T MRI carotid arterial wall dimension measurements. The use of HR imaging will contribute to a reduced sample size needed in intervention trials using MRI scanning of the carotid artery as surrogate marker for atherosclerosis progression.
KeywordsCarotid MRI Atherosclerosis Reproducibility Cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging
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