Cine displacement-encoded MRI is a promising modality for quantifying regional myocardial function. However, it has two major limitations: low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and data acquisition efficiency. The purpose of this study was to incrementally improve the SNR and the data acquisition efficiency of cine displacement-encoded MRI through the combined use of balanced steady-state free precession (b-SSFP) imaging, 3T imaging, echo-combination image reconstruction, and time-adaptive sensitivity encoding (TSENSE) parallel imaging. Phantom experiments were performed to empirically determine the optimal excitation angle (α) and to estimate the measurement errors in the presence of 130 Hz peak-to-peak static magnetic field (B0) variation. The optimal α was determined to be 20°. The intrinsic phase correction in the echo-combination effectively reduced the phase error, which produced small displacement errors (0.11 versus 0.11 mm) and negligible strain errors (-0.001 versus -0.002). Six healthy volunteers were imaged in three short-axis levels of the heart to evaluate the SNR and the relative accuracy of strain calculations. Compared with the 24-heartbeat cine echo-planar imaging acquisition, the 24-heartbeat non-accelerated b-SSFP acquisition yielded approximately 65% higher SNR, and the 12-heartbeat twofold accelerated b-SSFP acquisition yielded approximately 28% higher SNR. The 12-heartbeat twofold accelerated b-SSFP acquisition yielded functional maps with spatial resolution of 3.6 × 3.6 mm, temporal resolution of 35 ins, and relatively high SNR (31.2 ± 5.4 at end diastole; 19.9 ± 3.6 at end systole; 10.3 ± 1.1 at late diastole; mean ± SD). The left ventricular strain values between the non-accelerated and twofold accelerated b-SSFP acquisitions correlated strongly (slope = 0.99; bias = 0.00; R2 = 0.91) and were in excellent agreement. The combined implementation of b-SSFP imaging, 3T imaging, echo-combination image reconstruction, and TSENSE parallel imaging can be used to incrementally improve the cine displacement-encoded MRI pulse sequence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging