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Magnetic resonance imaging characteristics of lesions relate to the difficulty of peripheral arterial endovascular procedures.

OBJECTIVE: Limitations with current peripheral arterial imaging modalities make selection of patients for percutaneous vascular interventions difficult. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a novel preprocedural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method can identify lesions that would be more challenging to cross during percutaneous vascular intervention.

METHODS: Fourteen patients with peripheral arterial disease underwent MRI before their intervention. A novel steady-state free precession flow-independent magnetic resonance (MR) angiogram was used to locate lesions, and an ultrashort echo time image was used to characterize hard lesion components including calcium and dense collagen. Lesions were characterized as hard if ≥50% of the lumen was occluded with calcium or collagen (as determined by MR image characteristics) in the hardest cross section within the lesion. The primary outcome was the time it took to cross a guidewire through the target lesion. The secondary outcome was the need for stenting.

RESULTS: Of 14 lesions, 8 (57%) were defined as hard and 6 (43%) were soft on the basis of MR image characteristics. Hard lesions took significantly longer to cross than soft lesions (average, 14 minutes 49 seconds vs 2 minutes 17 seconds; P = .003). Hard lesions also required stenting more often than soft lesions (Fisher exact test, P = .008). Of 14 lesions, 2 (14%) could not be crossed with a guidewire, and both lesions were hard. MR images also detected occult patencies and noncalcified hard lesions that could not be seen on X-ray angiography.

CONCLUSIONS: MRI can be used to determine which peripheral arterial lesions are more difficult to cross with a guidewire. Future work will determine whether MRI lesion characterization can predict long-term endovascular outcomes to aid in procedure planning.

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