Magnetic resonance angiography of extracranial carotid and vertebral arteries, including their origins: comparison with digital subtraction angiography
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Although carotid bifurcation stenoses are not the only lesions of the extracranial cerebral arteries, magnetic resonance angiographic (MRA) studies to date have concentrated on the carotid bifurcation. We compared digital subtraction angiography of the extracranial portions of the cerebral arteries with MRA using an ordinary body coil, the time-of-flight method, and multiple transverse slabs which covered the arteries down to the aortic arch. Twenty-two patients (15 with arteriosclerotic diseases, 4 with aortitis, and 3 with tumours) had MRA using a 1.5 T magnet system with a three-dimensional fast imaging with steady state precession (FISP) technique. Thirty-nine carotid and 39 vertebral arteries were assessed by three radiologists with regard to stenoses or occlusions, graded as normal, mild (<30%), moderate (30–60%) or severe (>60%) stenosis, or occluded. Grading corresponded well in 81%; stenoses appeared more marked on MRA in 14% and were seen less clearly on MRA in 5%. When 26 carotid bifurcations were assessed separately, grading corresponded well in 95%. MRA is the only method which can display the whole course of the extracranial carotid and vertebral arteries non-invasively and satisfactorily.
Key wordsMagnetic resonance angiography Extracranial carotid artery Vertebral artery
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