Visualization of carotid vessel wall and atherosclerotic plaque: T1-SPACE vs. compressed sensing T1-SPACE

  • Sachi Okuchi
  • Yasutaka FushimiEmail author
  • Tomohisa Okada
  • Akira Yamamoto
  • Tsutomu Okada
  • Takayuki Kikuchi
  • Kazumichi Yoshida
  • Susumu Miyamoto
  • Kaori Togashi
Head and Neck



To compare visualization of carotid plaques and vessel walls between 3D T1-fast spin echo imaging with conventional SPACE (T1-SPACE) and with a prototype compressed sensing T1-SPACE (CS-T1-SPACE)


This retrospective study was approved by the institutional review board. Participants comprised 43 patients (36 males, 7 females; mean age, 71 years) who underwent carotid MRI including T1-SPACE and CS-T1-SPACE. The quality of visualization for carotid plaques and vessel walls was evaluated using a 5-point scale, and signal intensity ratios (SRs) of the carotid plaques were measured and normalized to the adjacent sternomastoid muscle. Scores for the quality of visualization were compared between T1-SPACE and CS-T1-SPACE using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Statistical differences between SRs of plaques with T1-SPACE and CS-T1-SPACE were also evaluated using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test, and Spearman’s correlation coefficient was calculated to investigate correlations.


Visualization scores were significantly higher for CS-T1-SPACE than for T1-SPACE when evaluating carotid plaques (p = 0.0212) and vessel walls (p < 0.001). The SR of plaques did not differ significantly between T1-SPACE and CS-T1-SPACE (p = 0.5971). Spearman’s correlation coefficient was significant (0.884; p < 0.0001).


CS-T1-SPACE allowed better visualization scores and sharpness compared with T1-SPACE in evaluating carotid plaques and vessel walls, with a 2.5-fold accelerated scan time with comparable image quality. CS-T1-SPACE appears promising as a method for investigating carotid vessel walls, offering better image quality with a shorter acquisition time.

Key Points

• CS-T1-SPACE allowed better visualization compared with T1-SPACE in evaluating carotid plaques and vessel walls, with a 2.5-fold accelerated scan time with comparable image quality.

• CS-T1-SPACE offers a promising method for investigating carotid vessel walls due to the better image quality with shorter acquisition time.

• Physiological movements such as swallowing, arterial pulsations, and breathing induce motion artifacts in vessel wall imaging, and a shorter acquisition time can reduce artifacts from physiological movements.


Magnetic resonance imaging Carotid stenosis Atherosclerosis Artifacts Image reconstruction 



Compressed sensing


Fast spin echo


Geometry factor


Internal carotid artery


Modified fast iterative shrinkage-thresholding algorithm


Parallel imaging


Signal intensity ratio


T1-fast spin echo imaging with conventional SPACE


Vessel wall imaging



We are grateful to Mr. Katsutoshi Murata and Mr. Yuta Urushibata, Siemens Healthcare Japan K. K., for protocol optimization.

Funding information

This study has received funding by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas “Initiative for High-Dimensional Data-Driven Science through Deepening of Sparse Modeling,” Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) grant numbers 25120002 and 25120008, and supported by The Kyoto University Foundation and JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number 18K07711.

Compliance with ethical standards


The scientific guarantor of this publication is Professor Kaori Togashi, MD, PhD.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statistics and biometry

No complex statistical methods were necessary for this paper.

Informed consent

Written informed consent was waived by the Institutional Review Board.

Ethical approval

Institutional Review Board approval was obtained.


• Retrospective

• Cross-sectional study

• Performed at one institution

Supplementary material

330_2018_5862_MOESM1_ESM.docx (10 mb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 10237 kb)


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Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic Imaging and Nuclear MedicineKyoto University Graduate School of MedicineKyotoJapan
  2. 2.Human Brain Research CenterKyoto University Graduate School of MedicineKyotoJapan
  3. 3.Department of NeurosurgeryKyoto University Graduate School of MedicineKyotoJapan

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