A fast 3D approach for coronary MRA

René M. Botnar, Matthias Stuber, Peter G. Danias, Kraig V. Kissinger, Warren J. Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Two-dimensional (2D)-breathhold coronary magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) has been shown to be a fast and reliable method to depict the proximal coronary arteries. Recent developments, however, allow for free-breathing navigator gated and navigator corrected three-dimensional (3D) coronary MRA. These 3D approaches have potential for improved signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and allow for the acquisition of adjacent thin slices without the misregistration problems known from 2D approaches. Still, a major impediment of a 3D acquisition is the increased scan time. The purpose of this study was the implementation of a free-breathing navigator gated and corrected ultra- fast 3D coronary MRA technique, which allows for scan times of less than 5 minutes. Twelve healthy adult subjects were examined in the supine position using a navigator gated and corrected ECG triggered ultra-fast 3D interleaved gradient echo planar imaging sequence (TFE-EPI). A 3D slab, consisting of 20 slices with a reconstructed slice thickness of 1.5 mm, was acquired with free-breathing. The diastolic TFE-EPI acquisition block was preceded by a T2prep pre-pulse, a diaphragmatic navigator pulse, and a fat suppression pre- pulse. With a TR of 19 ms and an effective TE of 5.4 ms, the duration of the data acquisition window duration was 38 ms. The in-plane spatial resolution was 1.0-1.3 mm(*)1.5-1.9 mm. In all cases, the entire left main (LM) and extensive portions of the left anterior descending (LAD) and right coronary artery (RCA) could be visualized with an average scan time for the entire 3D- volume data set of 2:57 ± 0:51 minutes. Average contiguous vessel length visualized was 53 ± 11mm (range: 42 to 75 mm) for the LAD and 84 ± 14mm (range: 62 to 112 mm) for the RCA. Contrast-to-noise between coronary blood and myocardium was 5.0 ± 2.3 for the LM/LAD and 8.0 ± 2.9 for the RCA, resulting in an excellent suppression of myocardium. We present a new approach for free-breathing 3D coronary MRA, which allows for scan times superior to corresponding 2D coronary MRA approaches, and which takes advantage of the enhanced SNR of 3D acquisitions and the post-processing benefits of thin adjacent slices. The robust image quality and the short average scanning time suggest that this approach may be useful for screening the major coronary arteries or identification of anomalous coronary arteries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-825
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • 2D coronary MRA
  • 3D Coronary MRA
  • Coronary angiography
  • Navigator gating
  • Rapid imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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