MR Imaging of Aortic and Peripheral Vascular Disease

Servet Tatli, MD ; Martin J. Lipton, MD ; Brian D. Davison, MD ; Ronald B. Skorstad, RT(R), MR ; E. Kent Yucel, MD

1 From the Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 75 Francis St, Boston, MA 02115 (S.T., M.J.L., B.D.D., R.B.S., E.K.Y.); and the Department of Radiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston (M.J.L.). Presented as a refresher course at the 2002 RSNA scientific assembly. Received March 6, 2003; revision requested May 7 and received June 17; accepted July 11.

Acquired diseases of the aorta and peripheral arteries are common. Owing to technical advances, magnetic resonance (MR) angiography has become the primary imaging modality for assessment of aortic and peripheral arterial disease. Contrast material–enhanced MR angiography is a rapid and robust technique that has emerged as the principal MR angiographic technique for evaluation of vascular disease. Two-dimensional time-of-flight MR angiography still has some well-validated applications, especially in distal peripheral vascular disease. Phase-contrast flow imaging is an important technique for quantification of blood flow. Black-blood imaging is a valuable tool for evaluation of the vessel wall. Understanding the principles of the main MR angiographic techniques is essential for consistent acquisition of diagnostic images. In addition, tailoring the acquisition parameters and the imaging protocol to the vessel being imaged and the clinical question is mandatory for optimal results. Future technical developments that will lead to faster image acquisition and better contrast agents promise to further improve image quality.