Arterial spin labeling (ASL) perfusion MR imaging is a technique by which water from circulating arterial blood is magnetically labeled and acts as a diffusible tracer allowing non-invasive measurement of cerebral blood flow. In this paper, the technique and current applications in neuroimaging will be reviewed.
Current status: First, the technical principles of ASL will be reviewed and both available techniques (continuous and pulsed ASL) explained. A review of the literature will demonstrate advances with the techniques of ASL and its clinical impact. Clinical research involves normal volunteers and patients with ischemic and tumoral pathologies.
Conclusion: Recent technical advances have improved the sensitivity of ASL perfusion MR imaging. The routine clinical use of ASL at 3.0 Tesla should increase over the next few years.