Intracranial vessel wall MRI: a review of current indications and future applications
Intracranial vessel wall MRI (IVWM) is a new diagnostic imaging approach with the goal of evaluating intracranial vascular pathology by directly visualizing arterial vessel wall abnormalities with MR sequences, preferably at 3 Tesla field strength, that suppress blood and have excellent spatial resolution. Body: The differentiation of intracranial vascular pathology has historically relied on luminal imaging techniques that depict the alteration of flow created by atherosclerotic stenosis or
... otic stenosis or vasospasm. With IVWM, it is possible to identify distinct radiologic findings of the pathology within the intracranial vessel wall itself, ranging from arterial dissection to vasculitis. Futhermore, IVWM imaging characteristics, such as post-contrast enhancement, can elucidate the temporal relationship between imaging findings and clinical pathology; and may predict future behavior of unruptured aneurysms or atherosclerotic plaques. Conclusion: We present a review of the basic IVWM imaging techniques and the relevant published literature on IVWM, with a focus on evidence-based diagnostic indications for IVWM and discussion of the strengths and weaknesses of each indication. Finally, we discuss how IVWM can be used to differentiate between intracranial pathology and future directions for IVWM research.