Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is widely used to detect carotid atherosclerotic plaques. Although it is important to evaluate vulnerable carotid plaques containing lipids and intra-plaque hemorrhages (IPHs) using T 1-weighted images, the image contrast changes depending on the imaging settings. Moreover, to distinguish between a thrombus and a hemorrhage, it is useful to evaluate the iron content of the plaque using both T 1-weighted and T 2*-weighted images. Therefore, a quantitative evaluation of carotid atherosclerotic plaques using T 1 and T 2* values may be necessary for the accurate evaluation of plaque components. The purpose of this study was to determine whether the multi-echo phase-sensitive inversion recovery (mPSIR) sequence can improve T 1 contrast while simultaneously providing accurate T 1 and T 2* values of an IPH. T 1 and T 2* values measured using mPSIR were compared to values from conventional methods in phantom and in vivo studies. In the phantom study, the T 1 and T 2* values estimated using mPSIR were linearly correlated with those of conventional methods. In the in vivo study, mPSIR demonstrated higher T 1 contrast between the IPH phantom and sternocleidomastoid muscle than the conventional method. Moreover, the T 1 and T 2* values of the blood vessel wall and sternocleidomastoid muscle estimated using mPSIR were correlated with values measured by conventional methods and with values reported previously. The mPSIR sequence improved T 1 contrast while simultaneously providing accurate T 1 and T 2* values of the neck region. Although further study is required to evaluate the clinical utility, mPSIR may improve carotid atherosclerotic plaque detection and provide detailed information about plaque components.
Radiological Physics and Technology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 6, 2018
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