Purpose To describe and evaluate the method we refer to as "vascular masking" for improving signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) retention in sensitivity encoding (SENSE)-accelerated contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (CE-MRA). Materials and Methods Vascular masking is a technique that restricts the SENSE unfolding of an accelerated subtraction angiogram to the voxels within the field of view known to have enhancing signal. This is a more restricted voxel set than that identified with conventional masking, which excludes only voxels in the air around the object. Thus, improved retention of SNR is expected. Evaluation was done in phantom and in vivo studies by comparing SNR and the g-factor in results reconstructed using vascular versus conventional masking. A radiological evaluation was also performed comparing conventional and vascular masking in R = 8 accelerated CE-MRA studies of the thighs (n = 21) and calves (n = 13). Results Images reconstructed with vascular masking showed a significant reduction in g-factor and improved retention of SNR versus those reconstructed with conventional masking. In the radiological evaluation, vascular masking consistently provided reduced background noise, improved luminal signal smoothness, and better small vessel conspicuity. Conclusion Vascular masking provides improved SNR retention and improved depiction of the vasculature in accelerated, subtraction 3D CE-MRA of the thighs and calves. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2014;39:1161-1170. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
- contrast-enhanced MR angiography (CE-MRA)
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging