3.0- Versus 1.5-T MR cholangiography: a pilot study.
OBJECTIVE: The purpose of our study was to evaluate quantitative and qualitative image quality of MR cholangiography at a field strength of 3.0 T compared with the standard field strength of 1.5 T. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A standardized MR cholangiography sequence protocol was used for 15 healthy male volunteers (mean age +/- SD, 32.4 +/- 4.3 years) who underwent both 1.5- and 3.0-T MRI within 2 hr in an alternating fashion. Dedicated circular polarized torso coils (1.5 and 3.0 T) were used. The sequence protocol included breath-hold single-slice rapid acquisition with relaxation enhancement (slice thickness, 50 mm; orientation, coronal and +/- 20 degrees oblique coronal); breath-hold multislice HASTE (slice thickness, 3 mm; coronal only); and a non-breath-hold, respiratory-triggered 3D turbo spin-echo (TSE) T2-weighted sequence (slice thickness, 1 mm; 60 slices per slab; coronal only). Maximum intensity projections were generated from each multislice data set. Bile duct (common bile duct, right posterior segmental branch, and left hepatic duct) to periductal tissue contrast-to-noise ratios were compared at 1.5 and 3.0 T. Qualitative image analysis was performed by three independent reviewers. Qualitative analysis included delineation of the extra- and intrahepatic biliary anatomy, with specific attention given to the presence (or absence) of cystic or intrahepatic ductal variants, using a 4-point confidence scale. Statistical analysis consisted of the paired Student's t test and the signed rank test. RESULTS: Contrast-to-noise ratios between the bile duct and the periductal tissue were higher at 3.0 T in all three locations (common bile duct, right posterior segmental branch, and left hepatic duct). In each magnet class, the 3D TSE sequence offered the best contrast-to-noise ratio and qualitative analysis. Superiority of the 3D TSE sequence was statistically significant in all analyses. Five of the 15 volunteers had intrahepatic biliary variants that were detected with a higher level of confidence (p < 0.01) on the 3.0-T system than on the 1.5-T system. CONCLUSION: Compared with MR cholangiography at 1.5 T, MR cholangiography at 3.0 T offers improved contrast-to-noise ratio and a higher level of confidence for depicting intrahepatic variants.
Merkle, EM; Haugan, PA; Thomas, J; Jaffe, TA; Gullotto, C
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