MR angiography accurate for diagnosing peripheral artery disease


NEW YORK (Reuters Health), Sep 7 - Contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography reliably identifies arterial stenosis/occlusion in adults with symptoms of peripheral artery disease (PAD) and accurately stages the extent of disease, results of a meta-analysis show.

In a report in the Annals of Internal Medicine for September 7, Drs. Jan Menke and Jorg Larsen, with University Hospital and Evangelisches Krankenhaus in Goettingen, Germany, note that contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is a noninvasive and radiation-free imaging method.

To look at how well MRA rules in or out 50%-100% arterial lumen reduction in patients with PAD symptoms, the two investigators pooled data from 32 studies that compared MRA with intra-arterial digital subtraction angiography, the gold standard for PAD assessment. Each study included 10 to 76 patients, providing a total of 1,022 patients.

The sensitivity and specificity of MRA for diagnosing stenosis/occlusion on a per-segment basis were 94.7% and 95.6%, respectively, the team reports.

A multivariate analysis of ten study groups showed that MRA correctly classified 95.3% of arterial segments, overstaged 3.1% of segments, and understaged 1.6% of segments.

Summing up, Drs. Menke and Larsen write: "Contrast-enhanced MRA has a high accuracy for both identifying and excluding clinically relevant arterial steno-occlusions in adults with PAD symptoms. Magnetic resonance angiography thus remains an important diagnostic alternative to radiation-based CT angiography and digital subtraction angiography."


Ann Intern Med. 2010;153:325-334.

Last Updated: 2010-09-06 19:11:06 -0400 (Reuters Health)

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