Spiral 3D time-of-flight MR angiography for rapid non-contrast carotid artery imaging: Clinical feasibility and protocol optimization

Elisabeth Sartoretti, Sabine Sartoretti-Schefer, Luuk van Smoorenburg, Christoph A Binkert, Andreas Gutzeit, Michael Wyss, Thomas Sartoretti*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


PURPOSE: To assess the clinical feasibility of spiral 3D Time-Of-Flight (TOF) MR Angiography (MRA) sequence variants for rapid non-contrast carotid artery imaging.

METHODS: Nine different 3D TOF MRA sequences were acquired in nine healthy volunteers on a standard clinical 1.5 T scanner. Three cartesian sequences (fully sampled (10:15 min), accelerated with SENSE (05:08 min), accelerated with Compressed SENSE (03:32 min)) and six different spiral sequences were acquired (spiral acquisition windows ranging from 10 to 5 ms (01:32 min-03:05 min)). Three readers graded the images qualitatively in terms of overall image quality, vessel sharpness, inhomogeneous intraluminal signal, background noise, visualization of large and small vessels and overall impression of the number of visible vessels. Cross-sectional areas of the vessel lumen were measured and vessel sharpness was quantified.

RESULTS: The SENSE and Compressed SENSE accelerated cartesian sequences and the Spiral 6 ms and 5 ms sequences were deemed comparable to the fully sampled cartesian sequence in most qualitative categories (p > 0.05) based on exact binomial tests. The Spiral 6 ms and 5 ms sequences achieved a scan time reduction of 75.3% and 69.9% respectively compared to the fully sampled cartesian sequence. The spiral sequences (generally) exhibited improved subjective vessel sharpness (p < 0.01-p = 0.13) but increased background noise (p = 0.03-p = 0.25). Cross-sectional area measurements were similar between all sequences (Krippendorff's alpha: 0.955-0.982). Quantitative vessel sharpness was increased for all spiral sequences compared to all cartesian sequences (p = 0.004).

CONCLUSIONS: Spiral 3D TOF MRA sequences with a spiral acquisition window of 5 ms or 6 ms may be used for accurate, rapid, clinical non-contrast carotid artery imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-28
Number of pages9
JournalPhysica Medica: European journal of medical physics
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022


  • Carotid Arteries/diagnostic imaging
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetic Resonance Angiography


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