Purpose: To assess the feasibility and potential limitations of the acceleration techniques SENSE and k-t BLAST for time-resolved three-dimensional (3D) velocity mapping of aortic blood flow. Furthermore, to quantify differences in peak velocity versus heart phase curves.
Materials and methods: Time-resolved 3D blood flow patterns were investigated in eleven volunteers and two patients suffering from aortic diseases with accelerated PC-MR sequences either in combination with SENSE (R=2) or k-t BLAST (6-fold). Both sequences showed similar data acquisition times and hence acceleration efficiency. Flow-field streamlines were calculated and visualized using the GTFlow software tool in order to reconstruct 3D aortic blood flow patterns. Differences between the peak velocities from single-slice PC-MRI experiments using SENSE 2 and k-t BLAST 6 were calculated for the whole cardiac cycle and averaged for all volunteers.
Results: Reconstruction of 3D flow patterns in volunteers revealed attenuations in blood flow dynamics for k-t BLAST 6 compared to SENSE 2 in terms of 3D streamlines showing fewer and less distinct vortices and reduction in peak velocity, which is caused by temporal blurring. Solely by time-resolved 3D MR velocity mapping in combination with SENSE detected pathologic blood flow patterns in patients with aortic diseases. For volunteers, we found a broadening and flattering of the peak velocity versus heart phase diagram between the two acceleration techniques, which is an evidence for the temporal blurring of the k-t BLAST approach.
Conclusion: We demonstrated the feasibility of SENSE and detected potential limitations of k-t BLAST when used for time-resolved 3D velocity mapping. The effects of higher k-t BLAST acceleration factors have to be considered for application in 3D velocity mapping.
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