Optimizing Saturation-Recovery Measurements of the Longitudinal Relaxation Rate Under Time Constraints
Richard M. Lucas Center for Imaging, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USA.Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.57). 11/2009; 62(5):1202-10. DOI: 10.1002/mrm.22111
The saturation-recovery method using two and three recovery times is studied for conditions in which the sum of recovery times is 1.5T(1) to 3T(1), where T(1) is the longitudinal relaxation time. These conditions can reduce scan time considerably for long T(1) species and make longitudinal relaxation rate R(1) (R(1) = 1/T(1)) mapping for body fluids clinically feasible. Monte Carlo computer simulation is carried out to determine the ideal set of recovery times under various constraints of the sum of recovery times. The ideal set is found to be approximately invariant to the signal-to-noise ratio. For the three-point method, two of the recovery times should be set the same or approximately the same and should be shorter than the third one. Only marginal improvements in accuracy and precision can be achieved by the three-point method over the two-point method under a common constraint of the sum of recovery times. Three-dimensional, high resolution, whole-brain saturation-recovery scans on volunteers with a fast-spin-echo technique (XETA) and completed in a scan time of 10 min generated R(1) measurements of cerebrospinal fluid (T(1) approximately 4 s) in agreement with the computer simulation and literature results, which demonstrates the clinical feasibility of applying the two-point saturation-recovery method for R(1) mapping for long relaxation components.
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ABSTRACT: : To develop suitable strategies for quantification of longitudinal relaxation time (T1) by means of ultrashort echo time (UTE) sequences and the variable flip-angle approach in materials and tissues with extremely fast signal decay. : A recently published modified Ernst equation, which correctly accounts for in-pulse relaxation of transverse magnetization, was used to numerically determine optimal flip angles for reliable assessment of T1 in case of extremely short effective transverse relaxation time (T2*). Various ratios of repetition time (TR) to T1 and radiofrequency (RF) pulse duration (TRF) to T2* were evaluated. Theoretical considerations were applied to solid polymeric material (T2* = 0.295 milliseconds), and T1 quantification was performed using various optimized flip-angle approaches at different RF pulse durations (TRF = 0.1-0.4 milliseconds). Furthermore, in vivo measurement of T1 in cortical bone was exemplarily performed in 3 healthy volunteers to test the applicability of the proposed method in vivo. For in vitro and in vivo studies, MR imaging was performed on a 3 T whole-body MR system using a 3D UTE sequence with a rectangular excitation pulse and centric radial readout. : Optimal flip angles were shown to be strongly dependent on TR/T1 and TRF/T2* ratios. Exemplarily, longitudinal relaxation time of the investigated solid polymeric material was determined to T1 = 223.1 ± 3.1 milliseconds with RF pulse duration of TRF = 0.2 milliseconds, and 12 acquired flip angles ranging from 5 to 60 degrees. Using only 2 optimized flip angles (8 degrees, 44 degrees), T1 of the same material was determined to T1 = 223.8 ± 4.2 milliseconds in a markedly less acquisition time. In vivo evaluation of cortical bone was feasible and showed T1 values of 80.4 ± 25.1 milliseconds, exemplarily. : Using the modified Ernst equation, it seems possible to rapidly evaluate 3D distribution of longitudinal relaxation time in materials and tissues with extremely fast signal decay by means of UTE sequences and only 2 measurements with optimized flip angles.
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ABSTRACT: Small-tip fast recovery (STFR) imaging is a new steady-state imaging sequence that is a potential alternative to balanced steady-state free precession. Under ideal imaging conditions, STFR may provide comparable signal-to-noise ratio and image contrast as balanced steady-state free precession, but without signal variations due to resonance offset. STFR relies on a tailored "tip-up," or "fast recovery," radiofrequency pulse to align the spins with the longitudinal axis after each data readout segment. The design of the tip-up pulse is based on the acquisition of a separate off-resonance (B0) map. Unfortunately, the design of fast (a few ms) slice- or slab-selective radiofrequency pulses that accurately tailor the excitation pattern to the local B0 inhomogeneity over the entire imaging volume remains a challenging and unsolved problem. We introduce a novel implementation of STFR imaging based on "non-slice-selective" tip-up pulses, which simplifies the radiofrequency pulse design problem significantly. Out-of-slice magnetization pathways are suppressed using radiofrequency-spoiling. Brain images obtained with this technique show excellent gray/white matter contrast, and point to the possibility of rapid steady-state T(2) /T(1) -weighted imaging with intrinsic suppression of cerebrospinal fluid, through-plane vessel signal, and off-resonance artifacts. In the future, we expect STFR imaging to benefit significantly from parallel excitation hardware and high-order gradient shim systems. Magn Reson Med, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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ABSTRACT: In MRI, the flip angle (FA) of slice-selective excitation is not uniform across the slice-thickness dimension. This work investigates the effect of the non-uniform FA profile on the accuracy of a commonly-used method for the measurement, in which the T1 value, i.e., the longitudinal relaxation time, is determined from the steady-state signals of an equally-spaced RF pulse train. By using the numerical solutions of the Bloch equation, it is shown that, because of the non-uniform FA profile, the outcome of the T1 measurement depends significantly on T1 of the specimen and on the FA and the inter-pulse spacing τ of the pulse train. A new method to restore the accuracy of the T1 measurement is described. Different from the existing approaches, the new method also removes the FA profile effect for the measurement of the FA, which is normally a part of the T1 measurement. In addition, the new method does not involve theoretical modeling, approximation, or modification to the underlying principle of the T1 measurement. An imaging experiment is performed, which shows that the new method can remove the FA-, the τ-, and the T1-dependence and produce T1 measurements in excellent agreement with the ones obtained from a gold standard method (the inversion-recovery method).