Fast Whole-Heart Coronary Plaque Characterization
Recently a technique based on 3D radial acquisition has been developed by scientists at CSMC for coronary artery plaque characterization. This technique is noninvasive, and has no ionizing radiation. It provides the unique diagnostic information of vulnerable coronary plaques.
Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the leading cause of death worldwide. Coronary plaque rupture accounts for about 70% of fatal acute myocardial infarctions and/or sudden coronary deaths . Recently T1-weighted (T1w) MRI with  or without  contrast enhancement (CE) has been used for characterizing coronary plaques showing promising prognostic capability for coronary events .
However, the drawbacks of current Cartesian acquisition scheme and navigator methods may hinder the clinical application of this technique: a) the anatomical coverage is limited to proximal coronary segments; b) the spatial resolution is low and anisotropic; c) a separate bright-blood MRA acquisition is needed as anatomical reference due to highly suppressed background tissue signal in T1w images.
Recently a technique based on 3D radial acquisition has been developed in our lab at CSMC for coronary artery plaque characterization. It provides 1) 3D whole-heart coverage, 2) isotropic high spatial resolution, and 3) simultaneously acquired bright-blood reference.
This technique utilizes golden-angle 3DPR trajectory, parallel imaging, and retrospective motion compensation to enable highly accelerated imaging. Patients can breath freely without introducing motion artifacts or reducing scan efficiency. Black-blood and bright-blood imaging are interleaved and inherently co-registered for easier interpretation.
Compared with current coronary vessel wall imaging techniques such OCT and IVUS, this technique is noninvasive, and has no ionizing radiation. It provides the unique diagnostic information of vulnerable coronary plaques including intra-plaque hemorrhage and inflammation.
 Naghavi M. et al., Circ.; 2003:108.
 Maintz D. et al., Eur Heart J; 2006:27.
 Kawasaki T. et al., JACC Imaging; 2009:2.
 Noguchi T. et al., JACC; 2014:18.
 Pang J. et al., MRM; 2014:71.
Yibin Xie received his PhD from University of California, Los Angeles, currently a postdoctoral scientist at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Biomedical Imaging Research Institute under the guidance of Prof. Debiao Li. His current research interests include vessel wall imaging, coronary artery imaging and diffusion weighted imaging.