Purpose: To evaluate fast spin-echo and multi-shot echo-planar fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) sequences in paediatric brain imaging.
Materials and methods: Matched images from 32 patients with suspected tumour or white matter disease were independently evaluated by two paediatric neuroradiologists. The observer preferences for image quality and lesion detection were analysed for differences between fast spin-echo FLAIR and multi-shot echo-planar FLAIR. Diagnostic quality was compared with that of fast spin-echo T2-weighted images.
Results: Images of a diagnostic quality equivalent to that of fast spin-echo T2-weighted images were achieved with both FLAIR techniques. Grey and white matter differentiation and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) nulling were significantly better on fast spin-echo FLAIR sequences. CSF flow artefact was reduced on multi-shot echo-planar FLAIR. There was no difference in lesion detection. Fast spin-echo FLAIR images were visually preferred at the expense of longer imaging time.
Conclusion: Fast FLAIR techniques are complementary to fast spin-echo T2-weighted sequences in imaging of the paediatric brain. We find that the fast spin-echo FLAIR sequence is preferable to the multi-shot echo-planar technique.