The purpose of the work was to evaluate the effectiveness of extracellular
contrast media in improving MR coronary angiography using breath-hold segme
nted echo-planar imaging (SEPI). Two protocols were designed to optimize th
e inversion recovery-prepared contrast-enhanced SEPI method. In 15 healthy
volunteers, significant Improvements In signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), contra
st-to-noise ratio (CNR), vessel sharpness, and length of visualization were
observed post-contrast. The method with two targeted scans to cover the le
ft and right arteries, respectively, following separate 20-mL contrast inje
ctions, was found to yield thinner slices and longer right coronary artery
(RCA) visualization than a single scan following a 40-mL contrast injection
without compromising SNR and CNR. In conclusion, extracellular contrast me
dia substantially improves the delineation of coronary arteries with SEPI.
(C) 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.