Atherosclerosis and its complications are leading causes of morbidity and mortality. The presence and severity of disease is typically diagnosed by luminal narrowing at X-ray catheterization. Because X-ray imaging does not visualize vessel walls, it does not allow assessment of processes that precede advanced plaque formation, or the vulnerability of plaques to rupture. Other current imaging approaches have difficulty distinguishing plaque components and with spatial and temporal resolution. Such issues are identified by NHLBI as central problems for image-guided intervention. Intravascular magnetic resonance imaging (IVMRI) promises precise, high-contrast assessment of stenoses and vessel wall pathology without ionizing radiation. Previously, ~1 mm diameter biocompatible intravascular guidewires were developed as active MRI detectors for clinical 1.5 Tesla (T) scanners in our laboratories, but have not gained wide use. Maximizing speed, sensitivity and spatial resolution are key to clinical use. While whole-body 3T MRI has emerged as a new clinical research standard, delivering higher signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) than existing 1.5T scanners, IVMRI detectors are limited to 1.5T, and thus have not benefited from any 3T SNR gain. One problem is a 4-fold increase in potential heating of introduced metallic devices at 3T vs 1.5T, all else being constant. We present new preliminary experimental and theoretical data demonstrating an over 3-fold gain in SNR and over 10-fold increase in the area of sensitivity or field-of-view (area exhibiting the same SNR) for equivalent intravascular antennae at 3T vs 1.5T. We show that heating can be kept within safe levels during 3T MRI. Such performance gains offer huge potential for high-contrast, high-resolution IVMRI for the in vivo assessment of atherosclerosis.
Aim 1 develops and tests active, biocompatible high-SNR, high-FOV intravascular guidewires for 3T MRI. Image-guided device tracking requires high-speed MRI. However, conventional MRI is locked to the scanner's frame-of-reference (FoR), requiring time-consuming """"""""read-out"""""""" of device location to prescribe MRI gradients for new locations.
Aim 2 develops a new MRI approach that uses the antenna itself for excitation, intrinsically locking the image FoR to the active end of the probe. The antenna becomes an """"""""MR-eye"""""""", generating images of what it """"""""sees"""""""" as it courses through an artery like an endoscope. Because the MRI-excited volume is vastly reduced to the vicinity of the probe, heating potential is greatly reduced.
Aim 3 tests these new technologies in an in vivo rabbit atherosclerosis model, where the aorta is of comparable diameter to human coronary arteries. These developments will form a basis for future human use.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Project (R01)
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Biomedical Imaging Technology Study Section (BMIT)
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Evans, Frank
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Johns Hopkins University
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Hegde, Shashank Sathyanarayana; Weiss, Clifford R; Erturk, M Arcan et al. (2013) 3T intravascular MRI, IVUS and OCT: A study in contrast. Proc Int Soc Magn Reson Med Sci Meet Exhib Int Soc Magn Reson M 21:1833
Hegde, Shashank Sathyanarayana; Zhang, Yi; Bottomley, Paul A (2013) Accelerated, motion-corrected high-resolution intravascular MRI at 3T. Proc Int Soc Magn Reson Med Sci Meet Exhib Int Soc Magn Reson M 21:0473-473
Qian, Di; Bottomley, Paul A (2012) High-resolution intravascular magnetic resonance quantification of atherosclerotic plaque at 3T. J Cardiovasc Magn Reson 14:20
Qian, Di; El-Sharkawy, AbdEl-Monem M; Atalar, Ergin et al. (2010) Interventional MRI: tapering improves the distal sensitivity of the loopless antenna. Magn Reson Med 63:797-802
Sathyanarayana, Shashank; Schär, Michael; Kraitchman, Dara L et al. (2010) Towards real-time intravascular endoscopic magnetic resonance imaging. JACC Cardiovasc Imaging 3:1158-65
Sathyanarayana, Shashank; Bottomley, Paul A (2009) MRI endoscopy using intrinsically localized probes. Med Phys 36:908-19
El-Sharkawy, AbdEl-Monem M; Qian, Di; Bottomley, Paul A (2008) The performance of interventional loopless MRI antennae at higher magnetic field strengths. Med Phys 35:1995-2006