Fast spin-echo imaging of the abdomen during breath-holding: an alternative to RASE and other fast imaging techniques.
We have developed a rapidly acquired T1-weighted spin-echo pulse sequence that uses gradient echo-like parameters of TR 70 ms, TE 10 ms, NEX-1 (SE 70/10/1) with large pulse angles, and presaturation. This sequence yields two images of the abdomen during a comfortable breath-hold of 9 s. Preliminary phantom studies with this sequence demonstrated that peak signal-to-noise ratios occurred at pulse angles of 120 degrees and 135 degrees. Compared to this rapidly acquired sequence, a conventional T1-weighted spin-echo sequence of TR 140 ms, TE 10 ms, NEX-4 demonstrated 2.8 times the signal-to-noise ratio, 2.6 times the liver-spleen contrast-to-noise ratio but only 1.6 times the contrast-to-artifact ratio. When normalized for the imaging time, however, there was little difference in the signal-to-noise and contrast-to-noise ratios, although the SE 70/10/1 demonstrated 2.0 times the contrast-to-artifact ratio. We conclude that for abdominal imaging the SE 70/10/1 is an excellent alternative to RASE and other fast imaging techniques, and, although there are inherently low signal-to-noise ratios, it may be particularly useful when coupled with a paramagnetic contrast agent.
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