MR angiography and imaging for the evaluation of middle cerebral artery atherosclerotic disease.


Intracranial atherosclerotic disease may constitute the most common cause of ischemic stroke worldwide; yet, in the developed world, imaging research has largely focused on extracranial atherosclerosis. Many studies in populations of Asian, African, and Hispanic descent demonstrate the preponderance of intracranial stenosis compared with carotid stenosis. This review examines the clinical presentations of MCA atherosclerosis and stenosis and the use of noninvasive MR imaging in the assessment of intracranial vasculature. MRA is a well-validated technique that offers great advantage over traditional angiography. Advances in high-resolution MR imaging of MCA stenosis have the potential to yield excellent visualization of plaque. Future developments in high-resolution MR imaging to depict intracranial atherosclerosis are explored in this review; these advances will guide endovascular therapy and the comparison of novel interventions.