Modified electrocardiograph-triggered black-blood turbo spin-echo technique to improve T1-weighting in contrast-enhanced MRI of atherosclerotic carotid arteries

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2008 Aug;28(2):533-7. doi: 10.1002/jmri.21104.


Purpose: To assess the efficacy of a modified electrocardiograph (EKG)-triggered black-blood T1W (T1W) spin-echo sequence in improving contrast on post-gadolinium high-resolution carotid plaque imaging by implementing heart-rate-independent contrast preparation.

Materials and methods: We used a standard EKG-triggered double inversion-recovery (DIR) turbo spin-echo (TSE) sequence modified with the addition of an extra saturation (90 degrees ) radio frequency (RF) pulse placed immediately after the DIR module, shortening the repetition time to a fixed value of 400 msec. A total of 10 patients with atherosclerotic disease were included in the study. Postinjection intraplaque contrast measurements were performed on each patient for the standard and the modified sequence.

Results: Post-gadolinium-injection intraplaque contrast was 31.7 +/- 12.8% with the standard T1W sequence (nT1-TSE), and 45.3 +/- 17.2% with the modified T1W sequence (mT1-TSE), showing a significant contrast enhancement of 13.6% (P < 0.001) without significant image quality modification.

Conclusion: The addition of a RF pulse to the standard EKG-triggered T1W TSE sequence increased intraplaque contrast without increasing sequence acquisition time. Furthermore, it appeared to be a robust technique, easy to implement on clinical scanners.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Artifacts
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / pathology*
  • Contrast Media
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Meglumine
  • Middle Aged
  • Organometallic Compounds


  • Contrast Media
  • Organometallic Compounds
  • Meglumine
  • gadoterate meglumine