The internal structure of atherosclerotic-plaque lesions may be a useful predictor of which lesions will rupture and cause sudden events such as heart attack or stroke. With lipid and flow suppression, we obtained high-resolution, three-dimensional (3D) images of atherosclerotic plaque in vivo that show the cap thickness and core size of the lesions. 3D GRASE was used because it provides flexible T(2) contrast and good resistance to off-resonance artifacts. While 2D RARE has similar properties, its resolution in the slice-select direction, which is important because of the irregular geometry of atherosclerotic lesions, is limited by achievable slice-excitation profiles. Also, 2D imaging generally achieves lower SNR than 3D imaging because, for SNR purposes, 3D image data is averaged over all the slices of a corresponding multislice 2D dataset. Although 3D RARE has many of the advantages of 3D GRASE, it requires a longer scan time because it uses more refocusing pulses to acquire the same amount of data. Finally, cardiac gating is an important part of our imaging sequence, but can make the imaging time quite long. To obtain reasonable scan times, a 2D excitation pulse was used to restrict the field of view. Magn Reson Med 42:762-771, 1999.
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View details for PubMedID 10502766