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Ferumoxytol-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography is a feasible method for the clinical evaluation of lower extremity arterial disease.



Renal toxicity from conventional, iodinated, intravenous contrast agents is a common complication in patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD). Similarly, the potential for serious side effects prevents the use of gadolinium-based agents in many patients with depressed renal function. Ferumoxytol-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (Fe-MRA) is a novel technique that uses an intravenous, ultrasmall, superparamagnetic, iron oxide preparation, currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of iron deficiency anemia in adults with chronic kidney disease. Our objective was to determine the feasibility of Fe-MRA for clinical decision making in PAD patients.


This was a prospective pilot study assessing 10 patients with suspected arterial occlusive disease with contrast-enhanced MRA of the aorta and lower extremities. Of those, 5 had renal insufficiency and were imaged with Fe-MRA, whereas the remainder underwent gadolinium-enhanced MRA. Qualitative and quantitative evaluations of deidentified images at each arterial station were independently performed by 4 blinded vascular surgeons.


All patients were men, with an average age of 68 ± 4 years. The 2 groups had similar incidences of diabetes, hypertension, hyperlipidemia, and coronary artery disease. Patients undergoing Fe-MRA had significantly decreased renal function (estimated glomerular filtration rate, 35.4 vs. 77.6; P = 0.02). There were no adverse events during contrast administration in either group. No difference was found in the overall quality of the ferumoxytol versus the gadolinium studies (7.1 ± 2.0 vs. 7.4 ± 2.4, P = 0.67). Similarly, reviewers felt comfortable basing clinical decisions on the images 89% of the time with both the ferumoxytol and gadolinium groups (P = 1.00).


This is the first report of an important alternative to conventional computed tomography angiography and MRA in PAD patients, particularly in the setting of renal insufficiency. Fe-MRA provides a useful tool in patients with suspected lower extremity PAD without the potential risks of gadolinium.

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