Purpose: Most clinical MR examinations require acquisition of different image contrasts. For abdominal exams, the scans are conventionally performed as separate acquisitions using respiratory gating or repeated breath holding, which can be time-inefficient and challenging for patients. Here, a hybrid imaging approach is described that creates T2 - and T1 -weighted images from a single scan and allows for free-breathing acquisition.
Theory and methods: T2 -weighted data is collected using 3D fast spin-echo (FSE) acquisition with motion-robust radial stack-of-stars sampling. The wait time between the FSE trains is used to acquire T1 -weighted gradient-echo (GRE) data. Improved robustness is achieved by extracting a respiratory signal from the GRE data and using it for motion-weighted reconstruction.
Results: As validated in simulations and phantom scans, GRE acquisition in the wait time has minor effect on the signal strength and contrast. Volunteer scans at 1.5T showed that T2 - and T1 -weighted hybrid imaging is feasible during free-breathing. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated in a patient that hybrid imaging with T1 -weighted Dixon acquisition is possible.
Conclusion: The described hybrid sequence enables comprehensive T2 - and T1 -weighted imaging in a single scan. In addition to free-breathing abdominal examination, it promises value for clinical applications that are frequently affected by motion artifacts.
Keywords: 3D fast spin-echo; Dixon imaging; abdominal imaging; free-breathing; radial sampling.
© 2018 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.