Object: To develop a novel approach for highly accelerated Magnetic Resonance Fingerprinting (MRF) acquisition.
Materials and methods: The proposed method combines parallel imaging, soft-gating and key-hole approaches to highly accelerate MRF acquisition. Slowly varying flip angles (FA), commonly used during MRF acquisition, lead to a smooth change in the signal contrast of consecutive time-point images. This assumption enables sharing of high frequency data between different time-points, similar to what is done in some dynamic MR imaging methods such as key-hole. The proposed approach exploits this information using a SOft-weighted key-HOle (MRF-SOHO) reconstruction to achieve high acceleration factors and/or increased resolution without compromising image quality or increasing scan time. MRF-SOHO was validated on a standard T1/T2 phantom and in in-vivo brain acquisitions reconstructing T1, T2 and proton density parametric maps.
Results: Accelerated MRF-SOHO using less data per time-point and less time-point images enabled a considerable reduction in scan time (up to 4.6x), while obtaining similar T1 and T2 accuracy and precision when compared to zero-filled MRF reconstruction. For the same number of spokes and time-points, the proposed method yielded an enhanced performance in quantifying parameters than the zero-filled MRF reconstruction, which was verified with 2, 1 and 0.7 (sub-millimetre) resolutions.
Conclusion: The proposed MRF-SOHO enabled a 4.6x scan time reduction for an in-plane spatial resolution of 2x2 mm2 when compared to zero-filled MRF and enabled sub-millimetric (0.7x0.7 mm2) resolution MRF.