Improved image quality in GRAPPA-accelerated coronary MRA using an outer volume suppressing 2D-T2-Prep
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KeywordsAcceleration Factor Improve Image Quality Parallel Imaging Technique Outer Volume Sharpness Measurement
Two-dimensional (2D) spatially selective radiofrequency (RF) pulses may be used to excite a restricted volume of tissue. By incorporating a "pencil beam" 2D pulse into a T2-Prep module, one may create a "2D-T2-Prep" that combines T2-weighting with outer volume suppression. This may be of particular benefit to parallel imaging techniques, where artefacts typically originate from residual foldover signal. By suppressing signal from outside the targeted region of interest (ROI), image quality may thus improve. We present numerical simulations, phantom validation, and in vivo MRA of the right coronary artery to test this hypothesis.
The first RF pulse of an adiabatic T2-Prep was replaced with a jinc pulse and spiral gradients. This excites a cylindrical volume. Meanwhile, the final RF pulse remains non-selective; it thus restores the cylinder of T2-prepared magnetization, but also rotates outer magnetization into the transverse plane, where it is spoiled. This "2D-T2-Prep", and its conventional counterpart, were used prior to normal and GRAPPA-accelerated MRI.
First, a numerical phantom, based on real image data (see below), was used to simulate acceleration factors of R=1..6 with random coil noise. Through repeated simulations, per pixel maps of SNR, noise, and G-factor were predicted for both T2-Preps.
Next, the actual phantom, with compartments doped to mimic blood, myocardium, and fat, was scanned 50 times for each acceleration and T2-Prep (50x6x2=600 total scans), on a 1.5T Siemens Aera using a gated, 2D gradient echo, 16 channel chest coil, FoV 384x384 (matrix 384x384), 4.0mm slices, TE T2-Prep = 40ms, RF angle 20°, and TE/TR/Tacq=3.4/8.7/69 ms. For each "tissue", an ROI was chosen and the mean SNRmulti was calculated.
For in vivo experiments, the RCA was imaged in 10 healthy adults, using accelerations of R=1,3, and 6. Parameters were as above, though a volume-targeted 3D sequence was used with 1.5mm reconstructed slices, 24mm volume thickness, water-selective RF excitation pulses of 20°, and TE/TR/Tacq=5.2/11.6/93.0 ms. Both T2-Preps were compared using Soap-Bubble vessel sharpness measurements for each acceleration, and the % differences were calculated.
Suppressing outer volume signal with a 2D-T2-Prep improves image quality particularly well in GRAPPA-accelerated acquisitions in simulations, phantoms, and volunteers, demonstrating that it should be considered when performing accelerated coronary MRA.
This work is supported in part by the grant 320030-143923 of the Swiss National Science Foundation.
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