Non-contrast renal MRA using multi-shot gradient echo EPI at 3-T MRI



The purpose of this study was to investigate the feasibility of non-contrast renal MRA using multi-shot gradient echo planar imaging (MSG-EPI) with a 3-T MRI system.


Seventeen healthy volunteers underwent non-contrast renal MRA using MSG-EPI and balanced steady-state free precession (b-SSFP) sequences on a 3-T MRI system. Two radiologists independently recorded the images’ contrast, noise, sharpness, artifacts, and overall quality on 4-point scales. The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for the renal artery, the contrast ratio (CR) between the renal artery and erector spinae, and acquisition time were compared between the two sequences.


The SNR and CR were significantly higher with MSG-EPI than with the b-SSFP sequence (17.80 ± 3.67 vs. 10.84 ± 2.86 and 0.77 ± 0.05 and 0.66 ± 0.09, respectively; p < 0.05), and the acquisition time was significantly lower (164.5 ± 34.0 vs. 261.5 ± 39.3 s, respectively; p < 0.05). There were significant differences in image contrast, noise, sharpness, artifacts, and overall image quality between the two sequences (p < 0.01).


The MSG-EPI sequence is a promising technique that can shorten the scan time and improve the image quality of non-contrast renal MRA with a 3-T MRI system.

Key Points

• The multi-shot gradient echo planar imaging with an inversion pulse is a brand-new fast scan technique for an unenhanced renal MRA.

• The image quality of multi-shot gradient echo planar imaging is better than that of b-SSFP for an unenhanced renal MRA.

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Balanced steady-state free precession


Contrast ratio


Echo planar imaging


Magnetic resonance angiography


Multi-shot gradient echo


Peripheral pulse unit


Principle of selective excitation technique


Regions of interest


Standard deviation


Signal intensity


Signal-to-noise ratio


Spectral presaturation with inversion recovery


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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Takeshi Nakaura.

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The scientific guarantor of this publication is Toshinori Hirai.

Conflict of interest

Masami Yoneyama is an employee of Philips Japan. The other authors declare no conflicts of interest in regard to the products under investigation or the subject matter discussed in this manuscript.

Statistics and biometry

No complex statistical methods were necessary for this paper.

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Written informed consent was obtained from all subjects (volunteers) in this study.

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Institutional Review Board approval was obtained.


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Morita, K., Nakaura, T., Yoneyama, M. et al. Non-contrast renal MRA using multi-shot gradient echo EPI at 3-T MRI. Eur Radiol (2021).

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  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Renal artery
  • Echo planar imaging