Non-contrast MR angiography versus contrast enhanced MR angiography for detection of renal artery stenosis: a comparative analysis in 400 renal arteries

Hira Lal, Rani Kunti Randhir Singh, Priyank Yadav, Ankusha Yadav, Dharmendra Bhadauria, Anuradha Singh
Abdominal Radiology 2021, 46 (5): 2064-2071

PURPOSE: In this study, we compared non-contrast MR angiography (NC-MRA) with conventional 3D contrast-enhanced MRA (CE-MRA) in patients suspected to have renal artery stenosis (RAS).

METHODS: From March 2014 to March 2020, patients who were evaluated for RAS and had a glomerular filtration rate > 30 ml/min/1.73 m2 underwent MR imaging on a 3T MR Scanner (Signa Hdxt General Electrics, Milwaukee, USA) using a Torso PA coil. The NC-MRA sequence was performed using a 3D fat-suppressed inflow inversion recovery balanced steady state free precession (SSFP) sequence (Inhance 3D Inflow IR, GE Medical) whereas the CE-MRA sequence was a 3D fast spoiled gradient echo (FSPGR). Overall quality of images was rated 1 to 4. Stenosis was reported as grade 1 (Normal), 2 (< 50% narrowing), 3 (> 50% narrowing) and 4 (Total occlusion). Grade 3 and 4 were considered haemodynamically significant.

RESULTS: During the study period, 201 patients were enrolled (400 renal arteries). For hemodynamically significant (grade 3/4) stenosis, NC-MRA correctly diagnosed 72 patients (95 arteries) while in 2 patients (2 arteries), NC-MRA underdiagnosed the stenosis as grade 2 (these were found to have grade 3 stenosis on CE-MRA). The kappa value of agreement between NC-MRA and CE-MRA for detection of RAS showing excellent agreement (p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: In one of the largest series of patients so far, we found that NC-MRA is a viable alternative to CE-MRA for detection of RAS, highly correlating with CE-MRA for grade of stenosis and with additional advantage of lack of gadolinium based contrast agents toxicity.

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