Intracranial vessel wall imaging: applications, interpretation, and pitfalls

D. J. Leao, A. Agarwal, S. Mohan, G. Bathla

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Vessel wall imaging (VWI) is being increasingly used as a non-invasive diagnostic method to evaluate the intra- and extracranial vascular bed. Whereas conventional vascular imaging primarily assesses the vessel lumen, VWI changes the focus of analysis toward the vessel wall. As the technical challenges of high spatial resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and contrast-to-noise ratio and long scans times are addressed, interest in the clinical applications of this technique has steadily increased over the years. In this review, the authors will discuss the various applications of VWI as well as principles of interpretation and common imaging findings, focusing on intracranial atherosclerosis, vascular dissection, vasculitides (such as primary angiitis of the central nervous system (PACNS) and neurosarcoidosis), vasculopathies (such as reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome (RCVS), cocaine-induced vasculopathy, moyamoya disease, and radiation-induced arteriopathy), aneurysms, and post-thrombectomy changes. The authors will also discuss the potential pitfalls of VWI and helpful cues to avoid being tricked.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)730-739
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Radiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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