The principal barrier to clinical application of diffusion-weighted MR imaging is the severe image degradation caused by patient motion. One way to compensate for motion effects is the use of a "navigator echo" phase correction scheme. In this work, a modification of this technique is introduced, in which the phase correction step is performed in the frequency domain (i.e., after the readout Fourier transform). This significantly improves the robustness of the navigator echo approach and, when combined with cardiac gating, allows diagnostic quality diffusion-weighted images of the brain to be routinely obtained on standard clinical scanner hardware. The technique was evaluated in phantom studies and in 23 humans (3 normal volunteers and 20 patients). Diffusion anisotropy and apparent diffusion coefficient maps were generated from the image data and showed decreased apparent diffusion in acute stroke lesions and, in several cases, increased apparent diffusion in chronic stroke lesions.