A. Varghese, L.A. Crowe, RH Mohiaddin, P.D. Gatehouse, Guang-Zhong Yang, D.N. Firmin, D.J. Pennell
To determine, in asymptomatic subjects, the interstudy reproducibility of a three-dimensional (3D) volume selective fast spin echo (FSE) cardiovascular magnetic resonance sequence for the assessment of carotid artery wall volume as a measure of atheroma burden.
Interstudy reproducibility was evaluated in 16 asymptomatic volunteers (10 male, 6 female). Both carotid arteries were scanned twice with a median interscan time of 5 days. The images were acquired in cross-section, and the total carotid arterial wall volume (TWV) was calculated by subtraction of the total carotid lumen volume from the total outer carotid vessel volume.
The mean carotid T1-weighted TWV for the first and second scans was 828 and 821 mm3, respectively (mean difference 7 mm3, p = 0.45). The standard deviation (S.D.) of the differences between the measurements was 38 mm3 yielding an interstudy coefficient of variation of 4.6%. The time for each study was approximately 30 min. For the longitudinal evaluation of carotid atheroma burden with pharmacological intervention versus placebo, 32 subjects would enable a difference of 38 mm3 to be detected with a significance level of 5% with 80% power.
Volumetric analysis with carotid CMR in asymptomatic subjects using a 3D volume-selective FSE is time-efficient with good interstudy reproducibility, and is well suited for longitudinal studies of carotid atheroma with reasonable sample sizes.
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