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MRI using ultrasmall superparamagnetic particles of iron oxide in patients under surveillance for abdominal aortic aneurysms to predict rupture or surgical repair: MRI for abdominal aortic aneurysms to predict rupture or surgery-the MA(3)RS study

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000190
JournalOpen heart
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Apr 2015


INTRODUCTION: Population screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) halves the associated mortality and has led to the establishment of national screening programmes. Prediction of aneurysm growth and rupture is challenging and currently relies on serial diameter measurements with ultrasound. Recently, a novel MRI-based technique using ultrasmall superparamagnetic particles of iron oxide (USPIO) has demonstrated considerable promise as a method of identifying aneurysm inflammation and expansion.

METHODS AND ANALYSIS: The MA(3)RS study is a prospective observational multicentre cohort study of 350 patients with AAA in three centres across Scotland. All participants will undergo MRI with USPIO and aneurysm expansion will be measured over 2 years with CT in addition to standard clinical ultrasound surveillance. The relationship between mural USPIO uptake and subsequent clinical outcomes, including expansion, rupture and repair, will be evaluated and used to determine whether the technique augments standard risk prediction markers. To ensure adequate sensitivity to answer the primary question, we need to observe 130 events (composite of rupture or repair) with an estimated event rate of 41% over 2 years of follow-up. The MA(3)RS study is currently recruiting and expects to report in 2017.

DISCUSSION: This is the first study to evaluate the use of USPIO-enhanced MRI to provide additional information to aid risk prediction models in patients with AAA. If successful, this study will lay the foundation for a large randomised controlled trial targeted at applying this technique to determine clinical management.

TRIAL REGISTRATION NUMBER: Current Controlled Trials: ISRCTN76413758.

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