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Simultaneous multi-slice Turbo-FLASH imaging with CAIPIRINHA for whole brain distortion-free pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling at 3 and 7 T.

  • Author(s): Wang, Yi
  • Moeller, Steen
  • Li, Xiufeng
  • Vu, An T
  • Krasileva, Kate
  • Ugurbil, Kamil
  • Yacoub, Essa
  • Wang, Danny JJ
  • et al.

Simultaneous multi-slice (SMS) or multiband (MB) imaging has recently been attempted for arterial spin labeled (ASL) perfusion MRI in conjunction with echo-planar imaging (EPI) readout. It was found that SMS-EPI can reduce the T1 relaxation effect of the label and improve image coverage and resolution with little penalty in signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). However, EPI still suffers from geometric distortion and signal dropout from field inhomogeneity effects especially at high and ultrahigh magnetic fields. Here we present a novel scheme for achieving high fidelity distortion-free quantitative perfusion imaging by combining pseudo-continuous ASL (pCASL) with SMS Turbo-FLASH (TFL) readout at both 3 and 7 T. Bloch equation simulation was performed to characterize and optimize the TFL-based pCASL perfusion signal. Two MB factors (3 and 5) were implemented in SMS-TFL pCASL and compared with standard 2D TFL and EPI pCASL sequences. The temporal SNR of SMS-TFL pCASL relative to that of standard TFL pCASL was 0.76 ± 0.10 and 0.74 ± 0.11 at 7 T and 0.70 ± 0.05 and 0.65 ± 0.05 at 3T for MB factor of 3 and 5, respectively. By implementing background suppression in conjunction with SMS-TFL at 3T, the relative temporal SNR improved to 0.84 ± 0.09 and 0.79 ± 0.10 for MB factor of 3 and 5, respectively. Compared to EPI pCASL, significantly increased temporal SNR (p<0.001) and improved visualization of orbitofrontal cortex were achieved using SMS-TFL pCASL. By combining SMS acceleration with TFL pCASL, we demonstrated the feasibility for whole brain distortion-free quantitative mapping of cerebral blood flow at high and ultrahigh magnetic fields.

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