Single breathhold noncontrast thoracic MRA using highly accelerated parallel imaging with a 32-element coil array

Jian Xu, Kelly Anne McGorty, Ruth P. Lim, Mary Bruno, James S. Babb, Monvadi B. Srichai, Daniel Kim, Daniel K. Sodickson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To evaluate the feasibility of performing single breathhold three-dimensional (3D) thoracic noncontrast MR angiography (NC-MRA) using highly accelerated parallel imaging. Materials and Methods: We developed a single breathhold NC MRA pulse sequence using balanced steady state free precession (SSFP) readout and highly accelerated parallel imaging. In 17 subjects, highly accelerated noncontrast MRA was compared against electrocardiogram-triggered contrast-enhanced MRA. Anonymized images were randomized for blinded review by two independent readers for image quality, artifact severity in eight defined vessel segments and aortic dimensions in six standard sites. NC-MRA and CE-MRA were compared in terms of these measures using paired sample t- and Wilcoxon tests. Results: The overall image quality (3.21 ± 0.68 for NC-MRA versus 3.12 ± 0.71 for CE-MRA) and artifact (2.87 ± 1.01 for NC-MRA versus 2.92 ± 0.87 for CE-MRA) scores were not significantly different, but there were significant differences for the great vessel and coronary artery origins. NC-MRA demonstrated significantly lower aortic diameter measurements compared with CE-MRA; however, this difference was not considered clinically relevant (>3 mm difference) for less than 12% of segments, most commonly at the sinotubular junction. Mean total scan time was significantly lower for NC-MRA compared with CE-MRA (18.2 ± 6.0 s versus 28.1 ± 5.4 s, respectively; P < 0.05). Conclusion: Single breathhold NC-MRA is feasible and can be a useful alternative for evaluation and follow-up of thoracic aortic diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)963-968
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • breathhold
  • noncontrast
  • parallel imaging
  • thoracic MRA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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