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Improved black‐blood imaging using DANTE‐SPACE for simultaneous carotid and intracranial vessel wall evaluation

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The purpose of this study was to develop a three-dimensional black blood imaging method for simultaneously evaluating the carotid and intracranial arterial vessel walls with high spatial resolution and excellent blood suppression with and without contrast enhancement.


The delay alternating with nutation for tailored excitation (DANTE) preparation module was incorporated into three-dimensional variable flip angle turbo spin echo (SPACE) sequence to improve blood signal suppression. Simulations and phantom studies were performed to quantify image contrast variations induced by DANTE. DANTE-SPACE, SPACE, and two-dimensional turbo spin echo were compared for apparent signal-to-noise ratio, contrast-to-noise ratio, and morphometric measurements in 14 healthy subjects. Preliminary clinical validation was performed in six symptomatic patients.


Apparent residual luminal blood was observed in five (pre-contrast) and nine (post-contrast) subjects with SPACE and only two (post-contrast) subjects with DANTE-SPACE. DANTE-SPACE showed 31% (pre-contrast) and 100% (post-contrast) improvement in wall-to-blood contrast-to-noise ratio over SPACE. Vessel wall area measured from SPACE was significantly larger than that from DANTE-SPACE due to possible residual blood signal contamination. DANTE-SPACE showed the potential to detect vessel wall dissection and identify plaque components in patients.


DANTE-SPACE significantly improved arterial and venous blood suppression compared with SPACE. Simultaneous high-resolution carotid and intracranial vessel wall imaging to potentially identify plaque components was feasible with a scan time under 6 min. Magn Reson Med 75:2286-2294, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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