OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study was to improve the blood-pool signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and blood-myocardium contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) of slow-infusion 3-T whole-heart coronary MR angiography (MRA). SUBJECTS AND METHODS. In 2D sensitivity encoding (SENSE), the number of acquired k-space lines is reduced, allowing less radiofrequency excitation per cardiac cycle and a longer TR. The former can be exploited for signal enhancement with a higher radiofrequency excitation angle, and the latter leads to noise reduction due to lower data-sampling bandwidth. Both effects contribute to SNR gain in coronary MRA when spatial and temporal resolution and acquisition time remain identical. Numeric simulation was performed to select the optimal 2D SENSE pulse sequence parameters and predict the SNR gain. Eleven patients underwent conventional unenhanced and the proposed 2D SENSE contrast-enhanced coronary MRA acquisition. Blood-pool SNR, blood-myocardium CNR, visible vessel length, vessel sharpness, and number of side branches were evaluated. RESULTS. Consistent with the numeric simulation, using 2D SENSE in contrast-enhanced coronary MRA resulted in significant improvement in aortic blood-pool SNR (unenhanced vs contrast-enhanced, 37.5 ± 14.7 vs 121.3 ± 44.0; p < 0.05) and CNR (14.4 ± 6.9 vs 101.5 ± 40.8; p < 0.05) in the patient sample. A longer length of left anterior descending coronary artery was visualized, but vessel sharpness, coronary artery coverage, and image quality score were not improved with the proposed approach. CONCLUSION. In combination with contrast administration, 2D SENSE was found effective in improving SNR and CNR in 3-T whole-heart coronary MRA. Further investigation of cardiac motion compensation is necessary to exploit the SNR and CNR advantages and to achieve submillimeter spatial resolution.
- Coronary MR angiography
- Parallel imaging
- Signal-to-noise ratio
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging