Purpose: To evaluate the use of coronary wall MRI as a measure of atherosclerotic disease burden in an asymptomatic population free of clinical cardiovascular disease. Coronary wall magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a non-invasive method for evaluation of arterial wall remodeling associated with atherosclerosis. Materials and Methods: Asymptomatic participants of the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) study were studied using black blood MRI. MRI-assessed coronary wall thickness was compared with computed tomography calcium score, carotid intimal-medial thickness, and risk factors for coronary artery disease. Results: Eighty-eight arterial segments were evaluated in 38 MESA participants (mean age, 61.3 ± 8.7 years). The maximum coronary wall thickness was greater for participants with two or more cardiovascular risk factors than for those with one or no risk factors (2.59 ± 0.33 mm vs. 2.36 ± 0.30 mm, respectively, P = 0.05.) For participants with zero calcium score, the mean and maximum coronary wall thickness for subjects with two or more risk factors for coronary artery disease were greater than the wall thickness for subjects with one or no risk factors (mean thickness: 1.95 ± 0.17 mm vs. 1.7 ± 0.19 mm; maximum thickness: 2.67 ± 0.24 mm vs. 2.32 ± 0.27 mm, respectively, P < 0.05). Subjects with increased carotid intimal-medial thickness also had increased coronary artery wall thickness (P < 0.05). Conclusion: Coronary artery wall MRI detects increased coronary wall thickness in asymptomatic individuals with subclinical markers of atherosclerotic disease and in individuals with zero calcium score.
- Coronary artery disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging