Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) is a method used to evaluate arteries and veins without
the use of invasive catheters or x-rays (radiation). MRA technique has been continuously
improving and has become more accurate at diagnosing problems of narrowing in blood vessels.
However, MRA has a difficult time detecting narrowing in small blood vessels, limiting its
use to large arteries.
The purpose of this study is to recruit patients diagnosed with or suspected of having,
atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) to participate in a series of new
state-of-the-art diagnostic tests using MRA.
This study is a combined effort between the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Uniformed
Services University of the Health Sciences (USUHS), and General Electric Medical Services
and is supported a Cooperative Research Agreement is to (CRADA).
The goal of this study is to improve MRA to the point that it can reliably replace
diagnostic x-ray catheter angiography in the evaluation of patients with atherosclerosis.
Contrast Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Angiography (MRA) is a developing technology that
permits the non-invasive evaluation of arterial and venous structures without the need for
x-ray based catheter angiography. While dramatic progress has been made in the last few
years, there are still substantial limitations in the accuracy of MRA in judging stenoses
and detecting small accessory vessels. The purpose of this study is to recruit patients
with suspected or documented atherosclerotic disease for evaluation with state-of-the-art
MRA using new surface coils, new pulse sequence designs, novel contrast administration
strategies, and advanced image processing algorithms. This work represents a collaboration
between NIH, USUHS and General Electric Medical Systems and is supported by a Cooperative
Research Agreement (CRADA). The goal of this pilot study is to improve MRA to the point
that it can reliably replace diagnostic x-ray catheter angiography in the evaluation of
patients with atherosclerotic disease.
Patients must live in the Metropolitan Washington Area.
Patients must have suspected atherosclerotic disease based on clinical findings or
documented by angiography or doppler ultrasound performed within 3 months of the MRA.
Patients must be willing to participate in the protocol.
Patients must be referred by a physician who is caring for the patient and to whom the
results will be provided.
Patients must be clinically stable and be judged by their physician able to come to the
Clinical Center to participate in the study.
Patients must have serum Creatinine value less than 3.0 mg/dl.
Any contraindication for MRI including:
(a) pacemaker or other implanted electronic device; (b) cochlear implants; (c) metal in
the eye; (d) embedded shrapnel fragments; (e) cerebral aneurysm clips; or (f) medical
Allergy to Gadolinium based contrast media.
Unsatisfactory performance status as judged by the referring physician such that the
patient could not tolerate an MRI scan. Examples of medical conditions that would not be
accepted would include angina, dyspnea at rest, congestive heart failure, severe
claudication (less than 1 flight of steps).
Intercurrent illness that requires treatment that would be jeopardized by the MRA scan.
Subjects requiring sedation for MRI studies.
Patients with severe back-pain who will be unable to tolerate supine positioning within
the MRI scanner for the duration of the examination.