Comparison of the added value of contrast-enhanced 3D fluid-attenuated inversion recovery and magnetization-prepared rapid acquisition of gradient echo sequences in relation to conventional postcontrast T1-weighted images for the evaluation of leptomeningeal diseases at 3T

H Fukuoka, T Hirai, T Okuda, Y Shigematsu, A Sasao, E Kimura, T Hirano, S Yano, R Murakami, Y Yamashita
AJNR. American Journal of Neuroradiology 2010, 31 (5): 868-73

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: The usefulness of contrast-enhanced 3D T2-FLAIR MR imaging for the evaluation of leptomeningeal diseases has not been systematically investigated. The purpose of this study was to assess the value added by contrast-enhanced 3D T2-FLAIR and MPRAGE sequences to conventional postcontrast T1-weighted images in the evaluation of leptomeningeal diseases. We also undertook in vitro studies in attempts to understand the consequences of our patient study.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twelve patients with confirmed leptomeningeal diseases underwent postcontrast T1-weighted, MPRAGE, and 3D T2-FLAIR imaging at 3T. Two radiologists independently assessed the presence of additional information on postcontrast 3D MR images compared with postcontrast T1-weighted images. The effect of different Gd concentrations and flow velocities on the signal intensity on 3D T2-FLAIR images was investigated in vitro.

RESULTS: According to both reviewers, 3D T2-FLAIR images yielded significantly more information than did MPRAGE images (P < .05 and P < .01, respectively). In the in vitro study, 3D T2-FLAIR was more highly sensitive to low Gd concentrations and less sensitive to high Gd concentrations than were T1-weighted or MPRAGE sequences. On 3D T2-FLAIR sequences, at a flow velocity exceeding 1.0 cm/s, the signal intensity of blood-mimicking fluids at concentrations of 0 and 0.1 mmol/L was as low as at 1.3 mmol/L.

CONCLUSIONS: For the depiction of leptomeningeal diseases, postcontrast 3D T2-FLAIR provides more additional information than postcontrast MPRAGE imaging. The superiority of the 3D T2-FLAIR sequence is associated with its high sensitivity to flow.

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