Vessel Wall Inflammation of Takayasu Arteritis Detected by Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Association with Disease Distribution and Activity

Yoko Kato, Masahiro Terashima, Hirokazu Ohigashi, Daisuke Tezuka, Takashi Ashikaga, Kenzo Hirao, Mitsuaki Isobe
PloS One 2015, 10 (12): e0145855

AIMS: The assessment of the distribution and activity of vessel wall inflammation is clinically important in patients with Takayasu arteritis. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a useful tool, but the clinical utility of late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) in Takayasu arteritis has yet to be determined. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the utility of LGE in assessing vessel wall inflammation and disease activity in Takayasu arteritis.

METHODS AND RESULTS: We enrolled 49 patients with Takayasu arteritis who had undergone 1.5 T MRI. Patients were divided into Active (n = 19) and Inactive disease (n = 30) groups. The distribution of vessel wall inflammation using angiography and LGE was assessed by qualitative analysis. In 79% and 63% of patients in Active and Inactive groups, respectively, greater distribution of vessel wall inflammation was observed with LGE than with conventional angiography. MRI values of pre- and post-contrast signal-to-noise ratios (SNR), SNR increment (post-SNR minus pre-SNR), pre- and post-contrast contrast-to-noise ratios (CNR), and CNR increment (post-CNR minus pre-CNR) were evaluated at arterial wall sites with the highest signal intensity using quantitative analysis of post-contrast LGE images. No statistically significant differences in MRI parameters were observed between Active and Inactive groups. Contrast-enhanced MRI was unable to accurately detect active disease.

CONCLUSION: Contrast-enhanced MRI has utility in detecting the distribution of vessel wall inflammation but has less utility in assessing disease activity in Takayasu arteritis.

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