Contrast-enhanced coronary angiography has become an important technique for magnetic resonance (MR) coronary artery imaging. However, the relationship between the quality of the coronary artery images and blood T1 has not yet been fully explored. In this paper, we assessed this relationship in an animal model by using a prototypical blood pool agent. With accumulated injections of this agent, the blood T1 would be maintained at different levels. The measured blood T1 values in vivo were 147±3, 82±6, 48±4, 40±3, and 30±8 msec (N=7). Fixed and variable flip angle schemes were used in coronary artery imaging. The signal to noise ratios (SNR) of coronary arteries were measured and the image quality was assessed. It was found that blood T1 less than 80 msec might be desired. No statistically significant difference was observed between two flip angle schemes. There was better vessel definition using variable flip angle at blood T1 lower than 50 msec. Understanding this relationship may be beneficial to optimizing image protocol and/or design of blood pool contrast agents for contrast-enhanced coronary angiography.
- Blood T1
- Contrast agent