Future Perspectives Intracranial MRA at 3 Tesla

As discussed above the major limitations of MRA at present relate to the relatively low spatial and temporal resolution compared to DSA. Improvents in these areas are essential if MRA is to compete successfully for the evaluation of vascular malformations and other vascular pathologies.

An area which will undoubtedly see rapid progress is in MR imaging at higher magnetic field strengths. It is well established that imaging at higher field strength results in greater SNR, increased vessel-tissue contrast and increased tissue T1 relaxation time. All of these aspects are important for MRA since higher resolution can be obtained, without any loss in signal.

Although little has yet been reported in the lit erature, preliminary reports have revealed a higher sensitivity of unenhanced 3D TOF MRA at 3T compared to unenhanced 3D TOF MRA at 1.5T for the visualization of small branches of the middle, posterior and anterior cerebral arteries [116] (Fig. 36a-b). More interestingly, a higher sensitivity of 3D TOF MRA at 3T has been reported for the depiction of cerebral aneurysms when compared to DSA [117] (Fig. 37a-b).

Although published data on the application of 3D CE MRA at 3T are not yet available, initial indications suggest the improved suppression of background tissue at higher field strength will markedly benefit the clinical applications for 3D CE MRA of the intracranial vasculature.

Thank you to A. Iadanza and L. Serra for help with the acquisition of images.

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