Purpose: To develop an efficient distortion- and blurring-free multi-shot EPI technique for time-resolved multiple-contrast and/or quantitative imaging.
Methods: EPI is a commonly used sequence but suffers from geometric distortions and blurring. Here, we introduce a new multi-shot EPI technique termed echo planar time-resolved imaging (EPTI), which has the ability to rapidly acquire distortion- and blurring-free multi-contrast data set. The EPTI approach performs encoding in ky -t space and uses a new highly accelerated spatio-temporal CAIPI sampling trajectory to take advantage of signal correlation along these dimensions. Through this acquisition and a B0 -informed parallel imaging reconstruction, hundreds of "time-resolved" distortion- and blurring-free images at different TEs across the EPI readout window can be created at sub-millisecond temporal increments using a small number of EPTI shots. Moreover, a method for self-estimation and correction of shot-to-shot B0 variations was developed. Simultaneous multi-slice acquisition was also incorporated to further improve the acquisition efficiency.
Results: We evaluated EPTI under varying simulated acceleration factors, B0 -inhomogeneity, and shot-to-shot B0 variations to demonstrate its ability to provide distortion- and blurring-free images at multiple TEs. Two variants of EPTI were demonstrated in vivo at 3T: (1) a combined gradient- and spin-echo EPTI for quantitative mapping of T2 , T2* , proton density, and susceptibility at 1.1 × 1.1 × 3 mm3 whole-brain in 28 s (0.8 s/slice), and (2) a gradient-echo EPTI, for multi-echo and quantitative T2* fMRI at 2 × 2 × 3 mm3 whole-brain at a 3.3 s temporal resolution.
Conclusion: EPTI is a new approach for multi-contrast and/or quantitative imaging that can provide fast acquisition of distortion- and blurring-free images at multiple TEs.
Keywords: EPI; distortion-free; fMRI; multi-contrast; quantitative imaging.
© 2019 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.