Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Peripheral Arterial Disease Reproducibility of the Assessment of Morphological and Functional Vascular Status

Bas Versluis, Walter H. Backes*, Marcelle G. A. van Eupen, Karolien Jaspers, Patty J. Nelemans, Ellen V. Rouwet, Joep A. W. Teijink, Willem P. Th M. Mali, Geert Willem H. Schurink, Joachim E. Wildberger, Tim Leiner

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objectives: The aim of the current study was to test the reproducibility of different quantitative magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods to assess the morphologic and functional peripheral vascular status and vascular adaptations over time in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Materials and methods: Ten patients with proven PAD (intermittent claudication) and arterial collateral formation within the upper leg and 10 healthy volunteers were included. All subjects underwent 2 identical MR examinations of the lower extremities on a clinical 1.5-T MR system, with a time interval of at least 3 days. The MR protocol consisted of 3D contrast-enhanced MR angiography to quantify the number of arteries and artery diameters of the upper leg, 2D cine MR phase contrast angiography flow measurements in the popliteal artery, dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) perfusion imaging to determine the influx constant and area under the curve, and dynamic blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) imaging in calf muscle to measure maximal relative T2* changes and time-to-peak. Data were analyzed by 2 independent MRI readers. Interscan and inter-reader reproducibility were determined as outcome measures and expressed as the coefficient of variation (CV). Results: Quantification of the number of arteries, artery diameter, and blood flow proved highly reproducible in patients (CV = 2.6%, 4.5%, and 15.8% at interscan level and 9.0%, 8.2%, and 7.0% at interreader level, respectively). Reproducibility of DCE and BOLD MRI was poor in patients with a CV up to 50.9%. Conclusions: Quantification of the morphologic vascular status by contrast-enhanced MR angiography, as well as phase contrast angiography MRI to assess macrovascular blood flow proved highly reproducible in both PAD patients and healthy volunteers and might therefore be helpful in studying the development of collateral arteries in PAD patients and in unraveling the mechanisms underlying this process. Functional assessment of the microvascular status using DCE and BOLD, MRI did not prove reproducible at 1.5 T and is therefore currently not suitable for (clinical) application in PAD.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-24
JournalInvestigative Radiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


  • peripheral arterial disease
  • contrast-enhanced MRA
  • phase-contrast angiography
  • dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI
  • blood oxygen level-dependent

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