Background. The aim of our study was the investigation of a novel navigator-gated three-dimensional (3D) steady-state free-precession (SSFP) sequence for free-breathing renal magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) without contrast medium, and to examine the advantage of an additional inversion prepulse for improved contrast. Methods. Eight healthy volunteers (mean age 29 years) and eight patients (mean age 53 years) were investigated on a 1.5 Tesla MR system (ACS-NT, Philips, Best, The Netherlands). Renal MRA was performed using three navigator-gated free-breathing cardiac-triggered 3D SSFP sequences [repetition time (TR) = 4.4 ms, echo time (TE) = 2.2 ms, flip angle 85°, spatial resolution 1.25 x 1.25 x 4.0 mm3, scanning time approximately 1 minute 30 seconds]. The same sequence was performed without magnetization preparation, with a non-slab selective and a slab-selective inversion prepulse. Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), contrast-to-noise (CNR) vessel length, and subjective image quality were compared. Results. Three-dimensional SSFP imaging combined with a slab-selective inversion prepulse enabled selective and high contrast visualization of the renal arteries, including the more distal branches. Standard SSFP imaging without magnetization preparation demonstrated overlay by veins and renal parenchyma. A non-slab-selective prepulse abolished vessel visualization. CNR in SSFP with slab-selective inversion was 43.6 versus 10.6 (SSFP without magnetization preparation) and 0.4 (SSFP with non-slab-selective inversion), P < 0.008. Conclusion. Navigator-gated free-breathing cardiac-triggered 3D SSFP imaging combined with a slab-selective inversion prepulse is a novel, fast renal MRA technique without the need for contrast media.
- Renal MR angiography
- Slab-selective inversion prepulse
- Steady-state free-precession (SSFP)
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