Aims: Although the coronary artery vessel wall can be imaged non-invasively using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the in vivo reproducibility of wall thickness measures has not been previously investigated. Using a refined magnetization preparation scheme, we sought to assess the reproducibility of three-dimensional (3D) free-breathing black-blood coronary MRI in vivo. Methods and results: MRI vessel wall scans parallel to the right coronary artery (RCA) were obtained in 18 healthy individuals (age range 25-43, six women), with no known history of coronary artery disease, using a 3D dual-inversion navigator-gated black-blood spiral imaging sequence. Vessel wall scans were repeated 1 month later in eight subjects. The visible vessel wall segment and the wall thickness were quantitatively assessed using a semi-automatic tool and the intra-observer, inter-observer, and inter-scan reproducibilities were determined. The average imaged length of the RCA vessel wall was 44.5 ± 7 mm. The average wall thickness was 1.6 ± 0.2 mm. There was a highly significant intra-observer (r = 0.97), inter-observer (r = 0.94), and inter-scan (r = 0.90) correlation for wall thickness (all P < 0.001). There was also a significant agreement for intra-observer, inter-observer, and inter-scan measurements on Bland-Altman analysis. The intra-class correlation coefficients for intra-observer (r = 0.97), inter-observer (r = 0.92), and inter-scan (r = 0.86) analyses were also excellent. Conclusion: The use of black-blood free-breathing 3D MRI in conjunction with semi-automated analysis software allows for reproducible measurements of right coronary arterial vessel-wall thickness. This technique may be well-suited for non-invasive longitudinal studies of coronary atherosclerosis.
- Coronary artery vessel wall imaging
- Magnetic resonance imaging
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine