A novel pulse sequence scheme is presented that allows the measurement and mapping of myocardial T1 in vivo on a 1.5 Tesla MR system within a single breath-hold. Two major modifications of conventional Look-Locker (LL) imaging are introduced: 1) selective data acquisition, and 2) merging of data from multiple LL experiments into one data set. Each modified LL inversion recovery (MOLLI) study consisted of three successive LL inversion recovery (IR) experiments with different inversion times. We acquired images in late diastole using a single-shot steady-state free-precession (SSFP) technique, combined with sensitivity encoding to achieve a data acquisition window of < 200 ms duration. We calculated T1 using signal intensities from regions of interest and pixel by pixel. T1 accuracy at different heart rates derived from simulated ECG signals was tested in phantoms. T1 estimates showed small systematic error for T1 values from 191 to 1196 ms. In vivo T1 mapping was performed in two healthy volunteers and in one patient with acute myocardial infarction before and after administration of Gd-DTPA. T1 values for myocardium and noncardiac structures were in good agreement with values available from the literature. The region of infarction was clearly visualized. MOLLI provides high-resolution T1 maps of human myocardium in native and post-contrast situations within a single breath-hold.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.