Free-breathing 3D coronary MRA: The impact of 'isotropic' image resolution

René M. Botnar, Matthias Stuber, Kraig V. Kissinger, Warren J. Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


During conventional x-ray coronary angiography, multiple projections of the coronary arteries are acquired to define coronary anatomy precisely. Due to time constraints, coronary magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) usually provides only one or two views of the major coronary vessels. A coronary MRA approach that allowed for reconstruction of arbitrary isotropic orientations might therefore be desirable. The purpose of the study was to develop a three-dimensional (31)) coronary MRA technique with isotropic image resolution in a relatively short scanning time that allows for reconstruction of arbitrary views of the coronary arteries without constraints given by anisotropic voxel size. Eight healthy adult subjects were examined using a real-time navigator-gated and corrected free-breathing interleaved echoplanar (TFE-EPI) 3D-MRA sequence. Two 3D datasets were acquired for the left and right coronary systems in each subject, one with anisotropic (1.0 x 1.5 x 3.0 mm, 10 slices) and one with 'near' isotropic (1.0 x 1.5 x 1.0 mm, 30 slices) image resolution. All other imaging parameters were maintained. In all cases, the entire left main (LM) and extensive portions of the left anterior descending (LAD) and the right coronary artery (RCA) were visualized. Objective assessment of coronary vessel sharpness was similar (41% ± 5% vs. 42% ± 5%; P = NS) between in-plane and through-plane views with 'isotropic' voxel size but differed (32% ± 7% vs. 23% ± 4%; P < 0.001) with nonisotropic voxel size. In reconstructed views oriented in the through-plane direction, the vessel border was 86% more defined (P < 0.01) for isotropic compared with anisotropic images. A smaller (30%; P < 0.001) improvement was seen for in-plane reconstructions. Vessel diameter measurements were view independent (2.81 ± 0.45 mm vs. 2.66 ± 0.52 mm; P = NS) for isotropic, but differed (2.71 ± 0.51 mm vs. 3.30 ± 0.38 mm; P < 0.001) between anisotropic views. Average scanning time was 2:31 ± 0:57 minutes for anisotropic and 7:11 ± 3:02 minutes for isotropic image resolution (P < 0.001). We present a new approach for 'near' isotropic 3D coronary artery imaging, which allows for reconstruction of arbitrary views of the coronary arteries. The good delineation of the coronary arteries in all views suggests that isotropic 3D coronary MRA might be a preferred technique for the assessment of coronary disease, although at the expense of prolonged scan times. Comparative studies with conventional x-ray angiography are needed to investigate the clinical utility of the isotropic strategy. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-393
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2000


  • 3D coronary MRA
  • Coronary angiography
  • Isotropic voxel size
  • Navigator gating
  • Rapid imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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