Visualisation of lenticulostriate arteries using contrast-enhanced time-of-flight magnetic resonance angiography at 7 Tesla.


Abstract7 Tesla-field-strength (7 T) Magnetic Resonance Imaging allows the small perforating arteries in the brain to be visualised, and this modality may allow visualisation of the arterial pathology in cerebral small vessel disease. Most studies have used standard Time-of-Flight (ToF) Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA). Whether the use of contrast enhancement improves perforating artery visualisation at 7 T remains unclear. In a prospective study, we compared standard ToF MRA with contrast-enhanced (CE) ToF MRA at 7 T for the visualisation of the lenticulostriate arteries (LSAs). Ten patients with symptomatic lacunar stroke were recruited (mean age, SD, 64 ± 9.9 years). Visualisation was assessed using a visual rating scale administered by two independent expert readers and length of the LSAs visible. Visualisation of the LSAs was improved with CE ToF MRA. The mean Visibility and Sharpness Score was higher for CE ToF MRA over standard ToF MRA (2.55 ± 0.64 vs. 1.75 ± 0.68; P = 0.0008). The mean length of LSA visualised was significantly longer with CE ToF MRA compared to standard ToF MRA (24.4 ± 4.5 vs. 21.9 ± 4.0 mm; P = 0.01). CE ToF MRA offers improved visualisation of the LSAs over standard ToF MRA. The addition of contrast may improve the ability to visualise cerebral small vessel disease arterial pathology.