Purpose: This work aims to develop a novel distortion-free 3D-EPI acquisition and image reconstruction technique for fast and robust, high-resolution, whole-brain imaging as well as quantitative mapping.
Methods: 3D Blip-up and -down acquisition (3D-BUDA) sequence is designed for both single- and multi-echo 3D gradient recalled echo (GRE)-EPI imaging using multiple shots with blip-up and -down readouts to encode B0 field map information. Complementary k-space coverage is achieved using controlled aliasing in parallel imaging (CAIPI) sampling across the shots. For image reconstruction, an iterative hard-thresholding algorithm is employed to minimize the cost function that combines field map information informed parallel imaging with the structured low-rank constraint for multi-shot 3D-BUDA data. Extending 3D-BUDA to multi-echo imaging permits mapping. For this, we propose constructing a joint Hankel matrix along both echo and shot dimensions to improve the reconstruction.
Results: Experimental results on in vivo multi-echo data demonstrate that, by performing joint reconstruction along with both echo and shot dimensions, reconstruction accuracy is improved compared to standard 3D-BUDA reconstruction. CAIPI sampling is further shown to enhance image quality. For mapping, parameter values from 3D-Joint-CAIPI-BUDA and reference multi-echo GRE are within limits of agreement as quantified by Bland-Altman analysis.
Conclusions: The proposed technique enables rapid 3D distortion-free high-resolution imaging and mapping. Specifically, 3D-BUDA enables 1-mm isotropic whole-brain imaging in 22 s at 3T and 9 s on a 7T scanner. The combination of multi-echo 3D-BUDA with CAIPI acquisition and joint reconstruction enables distortion-free whole-brain mapping in 47 s at 1.1 × 1.1 × 1.0 mm3 resolution.
Keywords: mapping; 3D-BUDA; CAIPI; distortion-free EPI; joint Hankel low-rank reconstruction.
© 2023 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.