Rapid high-resolution T1 mapping using a highly accelerated radial steady-state free-precession technique

Zhitao Li, Ali Bilgin, Kevin Johnson, Jean Philippe Galons, Srinivasan Vedantham, Diego R. Martin, Maria I. Altbach*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: T1 mapping is often used in some clinical protocols. Existing techniques are limited in slice coverage, and/or spatial-temporal resolution, or require long acquisitions. Here we present a multi-slice inversion-recovery (IR) radial steady-state free precession (radSSFP) pulse sequence combined with a principal component (PC) based reconstruction that overcomes these limitations. Purpose: To develop a fast technique for multi-slice high-resolution T1 mapping. Study Type: Technical efficacy study done prospectively. Phantom/Subjects: IR-radSSFP was tested in phantoms, five healthy volunteers, and four patients with abdominal lesions. Field Strength/Sequence: IR-radSSFP was implemented at 3T. Assessment: Computer simulations were performed to optimize the flip angle for T1 estimation; testing was done in phantoms using as reference an IR spin-echo pulse sequence. T1 mapping with IR-radSSFP was also assessed in vivo (brain and abdomen) and T1 values were compared with literature. T1 maps were also compared with a radial IR-FLASH technique. Statistical Tests: A two-tailed t-test was used to compare T1 values in phantoms. A repeatability study was carried out in vivo using Bland-Altman analysis. Results: Simulations and phantom experiments showed that a flip angle of 20˚ was optimal for T1 mapping. When comparing single to multi-slice experiments in phantoms there were no significant differences between the means T1 values (P = 0.0475). In vivo results show that T1 maps with spatial resolution as high as 0.69 mm × 0.69 mm × 2.00 mm (brain) and 0.83 mm × 0.83 mm × 3.00 mm (abdomen) can be generated for 84 brain slices in 3 min and 10 abdominal slices in a breath-hold; T1 values were comparable to those reported in literature. The coefficients of variation from the repeatability study were 1.7% for brain and 2.5–2.7% in the abdomen. Data Conclusion: A multi-slice IR-radSSFP technique combined with a PC-based reconstruction was demonstrated for higher resolution T1 mapping. This technique is fast, motion-insensitive and yields repeatable T1 values comparable to those in literature. Level of Evidence: 2. Technical Efficacy: Stage 1. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2019;49:239–252.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-252
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • compressed sensing
  • model-based
  • radial MRI
  • T
  • T mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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