This study aimed to optimize velocity-selective magnetic resonance angiography (VS-MRA) protocols for whole-neck angiography and demonstrate its feasibility in healthy subjects with comparisons to clinical 3D time-of-flight (TOF) angiography. To help optimize VS-MRA protocols, 2D phase-contrast (PC) flow imaging and 3D B0 and B1 field mappings were performed on five healthy volunteers. Based on these measurements, a slab-selective (SS) inversion preparation was applied prior to a VS saturation preparation to further suppress venous blood, while the VS preparation pulse was designed with compensation for field offsets. VS-MRA and 3D TOF were performed on six healthy subjects, and relative contrast ratios (CRs) between artery and muscle signals were calculated for twenty arterial regions for comparisons. The pre-compensated VS pulse improved the visualization of the subclavian arteries and suppression of background tissues, which involved large B0 and B1 field errors. The combination of SS and VS preparations effectively suppressed venous blood. While the relative CR values were 0.78 ± 0.08 and 0.72 ± 0.10 for VS-MRA and 3D TOF, respectively, over the twenty segments, VS-MRA outperformed 3D TOF in visualizing arterial segments of a small size or with a horizontal orientation, such as subclavian, facial, and occipital arteries. The proposed neck VS-MRA with the field-error-compensated VS preparation combined with the SS preparation is feasible and superior to 3D TOF in visualizing small and/or horizontally oriented arterial segments.
- neck angiography
- non-contrast-enhanced MRA
- velocity-selective preparation pulse sequence