In this work, two practical methods for the measurement of signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) performance in parallel imaging are described. Phantoms and human studies were performed with a 32-channel cardiac coil in the context of ultrafast cardiac CINE imaging at 1.5 T using steady-state free precession (SSFP) and TSENSE. SNR and g-factor phantom measurements using a "multiple acquisition" method were compared to measurements from a "difference method". Excellent agreement was seen between the two methods, and the g-factor shows qualitative agreement with theoretical predictions from the literature. Examples of high temporal (42.6 ms) and spatial (2.1x2.1x8 mm3) resolution cardiac CINE SSFP images acquired from human volunteers using TSENSE are shown for acceleration factors up to 7. Image quality agrees qualitatively with phantom SNR measurements, suggesting an optimum acceleration of 4. With this acceleration, a cardiac function study consisting of 6 image planes (3 short-axis views, 3 long-axis views) was obtained in an 18-heartbeat breath-hold.
Copyright (c) 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.