In order to reduce the RF power deposition of fast spin echo sequences operated at high field strength, the flip angles of the refocusing pulse train are varied from pulse to pulse using a modulated angle refocusing train method. The technique employs high flip angle pulses prior to sampling the center of k-space in order to preserve T(2) contrast, low flip angles after sampling the center of k-space to reduce power and prolong relaxation, and a smooth transition between the high and low flip angle regimes in order to maintain the pseudosteady-state, maximizing signal and avoiding artifact-inducing oscillations. An analytical expression is used to predict and correct for the flip angle dependence of the signal, thus eliminating any deleterious effects of flip angle modulation on the point spread function. Analysis of resolution and SNR were performed in simulation and phantom studies. In human imaging studies, it is shown that RF energy deposition per slice in a single-shot fast spin echo application can be reduced by up to 75%, making the sequence as practical at 3 T as it is has been at 1.5 T.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.