Purpose: To assess the feasibility of half-Fourier-acquisition single-shot turbo spin-echo (HASTE) of the lung at 3 Tesla (T) using parallel imaging with a prototype of a 32-channel torso array coil, and to determine the optimum acceleration factor for the delineation of intrapulmonary anatomy.
Materials and methods: Nine volunteers were examined on a 32-channel 3T MRI system using a prototype 32-channel-torso-array-coil. HASTE-MRI of the lung was acquired at both, end-inspiratory and end-expiratory breathhold with parallel imaging (Generalized autocalibrating partially parallel acquisitions = GRAPPA) using acceleration factors ranging between R = 1 (TE = 42 ms) and R = 6 (TE = 16 ms). The image quality of intrapulmonary anatomy and subjectively perceived noise level was analyzed by two radiologists in consensus. In addition quantitative measurements of the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of HASTE with different acceleration factors were assessed in phantom measurements.
Results: Using an acceleration factor of R = 4 image blurring was substantially reduced compared with lower acceleration factors resulting in sharp delineation of intrapulmonary structures in expiratory scans. For inspiratory scans an acceleration factor of 2 provided the best image quality. Expiratory scans had a higher subjectively perceived SNR than inspiratory scans.
Conclusion: Using optimized multi-element coil geometry HASTE-MRI of the lung is feasible at 3T with acceleration factors up to 4. Compared with nonaccelerated acquisitions, shorter echo times and reduced image blurring are achieved. Expiratory scanning may be favorable to compensate for susceptibility associated signal loss at 3T.