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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Balanced steady state free precession for arterial spin labeling MRI: Initial experience for blood flow mapping in human brain, retina, and kidney.

  • Author(s): Park, Sung-Hong
  • Wang, Danny JJ
  • Duong, Timothy Q
  • et al.

We implemented pseudo-continuous ASL (pCASL) with 2D and 3D balanced steady state free precession (bSSFP) readout for mapping blood flow in the human brain, retina, and kidney, free of distortion and signal dropout, which are typically observed in the most commonly used echo-planar imaging acquisition. High resolution functional brain imaging in the human visual cortex was feasible with 3D bSSFP pCASL. Blood flow of the human retina could be imaged with pCASL and bSSFP in conjunction with a phase cycling approach to suppress the banding artifacts associated with bSSFP. Furthermore, bSSFP based pCASL enabled us to map renal blood flow within a single breath hold. Control and test-retest experiments suggested that the measured blood flow values in retina and kidney were reliable. Because there is no specific imaging tool for mapping human retina blood flow and the standard contrast agent technique for mapping renal blood flow can cause problems for patients with kidney dysfunction, bSSFP based pCASL may provide a useful tool for the diagnosis of retinal and renal diseases and can complement existing imaging techniques.

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