Objective: Our goal was to evaluate the decreased sensitivity of RARE-derived pulse sequences to susceptibility effects.
Materials and methods: A variety of RARE-derived T2-weighted fast SE echo (FSE) sequences with echo trains from 6 to 16 were compared with conventional SE (CSE) sequences by means of MRI in phantoms (iron oxides), volunteers (n = 10), and patients (n = 13) with old hemorrhagic brain lesions. All experiments were performed on a 1.5 T clinical MR system (Magnetom SP 4000; Siemens AG, Erlangen, Germany) with constant imaging parameters. Contrast-to-noise ratios (CNRs) of tubes doped with iron oxides at different concentrations and brain areas with physiological iron deposition (red nucleus, substantia nigra) were calculated for CSE and FSE pulse sequences. Areas of old brain hemorrhage were analyzed for lesion conspicuity by blinded analysis with CSE as an internal standard.
Results: CNR of iron oxide tubes (TE 90 ms, CSE 45.0 +/- 3.5, FSE 16 echo trains 28.5 +/- 3.1; p < or = 0.01) and iron-containing brain areas decreased with increasing echo trains of FSE sequences. A significantly lower number of old hemorrhagic brain lesions was visible in patients scanned with FSE sequences (6 echo trains: n = 28; 16 echo trains; n = 26) than CSE (n = 40).
Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that the sensitivity of RARE-derived techniques to susceptibility effects is significantly decreased compared with CSE. CSE sequences or GE sequences should still be preferred in patients with a history of seizures or intracranial hemorrhage.