(HealthDay News) – A new magnetic resonance imaging-based technique can better identify increases in coronary vessel wall thickness in people at risk for coronary artery disease.

Khaled Z. Abd-Elmoniem, PhD, from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD, and colleagues compared single-image and time-resolved acquisition of phase-sensitive dual-inversion recovery (TRAPD) magnetic resonance imaging to measure coronary vessel wall thickness in 26 subjects with at least one risk factor for coronary artery disease and 12 matched healthy subjects. TRAPD imaging consisted of five continuous images which were taken to increase the odds of obtaining an unblurred image.

The researchers found that TRAPD imaging enhanced lumen wall contrast. The success rate of obtaining a clear image was 76% with single images, but increased to 95% with the TRAPD sequence. The TRAPD sequence identified a 36% increase in vessel wall thickness in at-risk versus healthy subjects (1.46 vs. 1.07mm) compared with a 25% increase with single images (1.55 vs. 1.24mm).

“TRAPD imaging of coronary arteries improved arterial wall visualization and quantitative assessment by increasing the success rate of obtaining good- to excellent-quality images and sections orthogonal to the longitudinal axis of the vessel,” Abd-Elmoniem and colleagues conclude.

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