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Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) of the circle of Willis: a prospective comparison with conventional angiography in 54 subjects

  • Diagnostic Neuroradiology
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We prospectively correlated the findings of magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) with those of transfemoral four-vessel angiography in 54 patients to investigate the direction of flow within the circle of Willis. Our primary goal was to assess the direction of flow using the size of the vessel and signal intensity, without saturation techniques. Analysis of the circle of Willis, especially the communicating arteries, was performed double-blind by two groups of two radiologists. Three types of arteries were identified: high flow or cross-cerebral circulation, patent and nonvisualised arteries. Cerebral angiography was the standard for comparison between the two methods. MRA did not reveal any arteries invisible on angiography, thus providing a specificity of 100%. The sensitivity of MRA was 89.2% for the anterior and 81.3% for the posterior communicating arteries, and 100% for the anterior, middle and posterior cerebral arteries. MRA was shown to be a useful technique for the assessment of patency of the circle of Willis.

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Patrux, B., Laissy, J.P., Jouini, S. et al. Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) of the circle of Willis: a prospective comparison with conventional angiography in 54 subjects. Neuroradiology 36, 193–197 (1994).

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