Imaging of the normally-thin artery wall remains a major challenge in MRI. Usually we must sacrifice axial slice thickness to achieve high in-plane spatial resolution, under the assumption that geometry and thickness changes through the ~2-mm-thick slices are negligible. As we recently demonstrated, however, such thick slice acquisitions may be prone to appreciable artifacts if the slices cannot be perfectly aligned with the vessel.
In the latest issue of JMRI, my colleagues at Johns Hopkins and I report on an approach to achieving isotropic spatial resolutions of 0.4 - 0.5 mm with black blood MRI. Not only does this allow us to resolve Italy (see above); it also allows us to resolve smaller changes or differences in wall thickness while avoiding the abovementioned obliqueness artifacts.