VALIDATION STUDIES
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Non-contrast-enhanced MRA of renal artery stenosis: validation against DSA in a porcine model.

European Radiology 2016 Februrary
OBJECTIVES: To compare 3D-inversion-recovery balanced steady-state free precession (IR-bSSFP) non-contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) with 3D-contrast-enhanced MRA (CE-MRA) for assessment of renal artery stenosis (RAS) using digital subtraction angiography (DSA) as the reference standard.

METHODS: Bilateral RAS were surgically created in 12 swine. IR-bSSFP and CE-MRA were acquired at 1.5 T and compared to rotational DSA. Three experienced cardiovascular radiologists evaluated the IR-bSSFP and CE-MRA studies independently. Linear regression models were used to calibrate and assess the accuracy of IR-bSSFP and CE-MRA, separately, against DSA. The coefficient of determination and Cohen's kappa coefficient were also generated.

RESULTS: Calibration of the three readers' RAS grading revealed R(2) values of 0.52, 0.37 and 0.59 for NCE-MRA and 0.48, 0.53 and 0.71 for CE-MRA. Inter-rater agreement demonstrated Cohen's kappa values ranging from 0.25 to 0.65. Distal renal artery branch vessels were visible to a significantly higher degree with NCE-MRA compared to CE-MRA (p < 0.001). Image quality was rated excellent for both sequences, although image noise was higher with CE-MRA (p < 0.05). In no cases did noise interfere with image interpretation.

CONCLUSIONS: In a well-controlled animal model of surgically induced RAS, IR-bSSFP based NCE-MRA and CE-MRA accurately graded RAS with a tendency for stenosis overestimation, compared to DSA.

KEY POINTS: • IR-bSSFP and CE-MRA are accurate methods for diagnosis of renal artery stenosis • IR-bSSFP and CE-MRA demonstrate excellent agreement with DSA • Both IR-bSSFP and CE-MRA have a tendency to overestimate renal artery stenosis.

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