Minimal scan times in rapid fluorine-19 MRI using sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) have been on the order of 10 s. Because of the very short T1 relaxation time of SF6 (T1 = 1.65 ms), high receiver bandwidths are necessary to allow for a high number of excitations. Since high bandwidths cause high levels of electronic noise, SNR per acquisition has been too low to further reduce scan time. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether scan times could be reduced using hexafluoroethane (C2F6), a gas with a longer T1 (T1 = 7.9 ms) at a relatively low bandwidth of 488 Hz/pixel. Gradient-echo images were acquired during and after completion of the wash-in of a 70% C2F6- 30% O2 mixture. Peak SNR values of 16 and 7.9 were observed for coronal projection images acquired within 2 s and 260 ms, respectively. These results demonstrate that subsecond imaging is feasible using C2F6.
(c) 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.