Purpose: To evaluate sensitivity encoding (SENSE) technique in a clinical setting for magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in patients who are suspected of having infarction.
Materials and methods: This intraindividual comparative study included 62 patients suspected of having cerebral ischemia. Patients underwent T2-weighted fluid-attenuated inversion-recovery (FLAIR) (n = 62), T2-weighted turbo spin-echo (TSE) (n = 48), and single-shot echo-planar diffusion-weighted imaging (n = 27) with standard sequential and SENSE MR acquisitions with a 1.5-T magnet and phased-array coil. With SENSE, acquisition time was reduced from 1 minute 12 seconds to 35 seconds for FLAIR and from 1 minute 18 seconds to 39 seconds for T2-weighted TSE imaging. For diffusion-weighted imaging, echo train length was shortened (78 vs 71 msec) to reduce susceptibility effects while acquisition time was maintained. Two radiologists scored quality of standard and SENSE images with a five-point scale and assessed presence of artifacts (motion, susceptibility) and lesion conspicuity. To assess statistical significance, Wilcoxon signed rank and chi2 tests were used.
Results: Statistical analysis revealed no significant difference in terms of image quality and presence of artifacts between standard and SENSE T2-weighted TSE (image quality, P =.724; presence of artifacts, P =.378) and FLAIR (image quality, P =.127; presence of artifacts, P =.275) images. Image quality at SENSE diffusion-weighted imaging was scored significantly higher compared with that at standard diffusion-weighted imaging (P =.002). Susceptibility artifacts were significantly reduced at SENSE diffusion-weighted imaging when compared with those at standard diffusion-weighted imaging (P <.001). Conspicuity of 84 lesions was rated equivalent with both standard and SENSE protocols.
Conclusion: SENSE allowed acquisition of T2-weighted TSE and FLAIR images with image quality and lesion conspicuity that did not differ from those of standard acquisition techniques but in only half the acquisition time. Use of SENSE with diffusion-weighted imaging significantly reduces susceptibility artifacts while lesion conspicuity is maintained.