OBJECTIVE. The purpose of this study is to determine the sensitivity, specificity, and clinical utility of classic 2D time-of-flight MR angiography (acquired with derated gradients) as an aid to predicting severe carotid stenosis. SUBJECTS AND METHODS. Our study population was composed of 68 patients, yielding 133 carotid bifurcations for analysis. A 2D time-of-flight MR angiography pulse sequence was modified to provide greater sensitivity for carotid stenosis, which resulted in visualization of a carotid stenosis with a 70% or greater diameter as a signal void. Contrast-enhanced MR angiography was performed with the elliptical centric view order. Multiple overlapping thin-slab acquisition (MOTSA) MR angiography was performed in select patients. Digital subtraction angiography was performed in 51 patients, and the findings were used as the gold standard. In the remaining patients, findings on carotid duplex Doppler sonography and at surgery and clinical follow-up were used as the gold standard. RESULTS. In 51 patients for whom a digital subtraction angiogram was available, we found that the sensitivity of classic 2D time-of-flight MR angiography for prediction of carotid stenosis with a 70% or greater diameter was 94%, and the specificity of the technique was 97%. In three patients with severe carotid stenosis, the stenoses that appeared as signal voids on the classic 2D time-of-flight MR angiography were underestimated on contrast-enhanced MR angiography. Severe stenosis was confirmed by subsequent digital subtraction angiography, surgical results, or both. Discrepancies between findings on MOTSA MR angiography and contrast-enhanced MR angiography were resolved with classic 2D time-of-flight MR angiography. Classic 2D time-of-flight MR angiography increased diagnostic confidence of a severe stenosis in three patients with focal internal carotid artery stenosis. CONCLUSION. Classic 2D time-of-flight MR angiography has a high sensitivity and specificity for predicting carotid bifurcation stenosis of 70% or greater diameter. These probability measures allowed the detection of three significant stenoses that would have been missed on contrast-enhanced MR angiography and provided greater diagnostic confidence than contrast-enhanced or MOTSA MR angiography alone.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging