Objective. To evaluate a gadolinium-enhanced MR angiography (Gd-MRA) imaging protocol for the assessment of thoracic vessels using double-dose gadolinium and quiet breathing. An animal model was used to simulate imaging in infants and young children. Material and methods. Six baboons ( Papio anubis ), mean weight 5.7 kg, were sedated and intubated. After the injection of double-dose Gd-DTPA (0.2 mmol/kg) through a peripheral vein, a coronal spoiled 3D gradient-echo volume acquisition was obtained during quiet breathing. Two radiologists reviewed the images for visualization of aortic arch, brachiocephalic vessel origins, pulmonary arteries (central, upper lobe and descending branches), and pulmonary veins (upper and lower). Results. Visualization was excellent for the aortic arch, brachiocephalic vessel origins, and pulmonary arteries, including the hilar branches. Visualization was excellent for the lower and right upper pulmonary veins and fair for the left upper pulmonary vein. There was excellent agreement between radiologists. Conclusion. Imaging of thoracic vessels with Gd-MRA using double gadolinium during quiet breathing was effective in our animal model. The advantages of this technique include a short imaging time and depiction of vascular segments – branches of pulmonary arteries and intraparenchymal segments of pulmonary veins – not optimally visualized with other non-invasive imaging techniques
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