While the current gold standard for coronary imaging is X-ray angiography, evidence is accumulating that it may not be the most sensitive technique for detecting unstable plaque. Other imaging modalities, such as cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR), can be used for plaque characterization, but suffer from long scan and reconstruction times for determining regions of stenosis. We have developed an intravascular fluorinated contrast agent that can be used for angiography with cardiovascular magnetic resosnace at clinical field strengths (1.5 T). This liquid perfluorocarbon nanoparticle contains a high concentration of fluorine atoms that can be used to generate contrast on 19F MR images without any competing background signal from surrounding tissues. By using a perfluorocarbon with 20 equivalent fluorine molecules, custom-built RF coils, a modified clinical scanner, and an efficient steady-state free procession sequence, we demonstrate the use of this agent for angiography of small vessels in vitro, ex vivo, and in vivo. The surprisingly high signal generated with very short scan times and low doses of perfluorocarbon indicates that this technique may be useful in clinical settings when coupled with advanced imaging strategies.
- Carotid Arteries
- Steady-state Free Precession