Real-time cardiovascular magnetic resonance at high temporal resolution: radial FLASH with nonlinear inverse reconstruction

2010 | journal article; research paper. A publication with affiliation to the University of Göttingen.

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​Zhang, Shuo, Martin Uecker, Dirk Voit, Klaus-Dietmar Merboldt, and Jens Frahm. "Real-time cardiovascular magnetic resonance at high temporal resolution: radial FLASH with nonlinear inverse reconstruction​." ​Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance ​12 (2010): ​39​. ​

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Zhang, Shuo; Uecker, Martin ; Voit, Dirk; Merboldt, Klaus-Dietmar; Frahm, Jens 
Background: Functional assessments of the heart by dynamic cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) commonly rely on (i) electrocardiographic (ECG) gating yielding pseudo real-time cine representations, (ii) balanced gradient-echo sequences referred to as steady-state free precession (SSFP), and (iii) breath holding or respiratory gating. Problems may therefore be due to the need for a robust ECG signal, the occurrence of arrhythmia and beat to beat variations, technical instabilities (e.g., SSFP "banding" artefacts), and limited patient compliance and comfort. Here we describe a new approach providing true real-time CMR with image acquisition times as short as 20 to 30 ms or rates of 30 to 50 frames per second. Methods: The approach relies on a previously developed real-time MR method, which combines a strongly undersampled radial FLASH CMR sequence with image reconstruction by regularized nonlinear inversion. While iterative reconstructions are currently performed offline due to limited computer speed, online monitoring during scanning is accomplished using gridding reconstructions with a sliding window at the same frame rate but with lower image quality. Results: Scans of healthy young subjects were performed at 3 T without ECG gating and during free breathing. The resulting images yield T1 contrast (depending on flip angle) with an opposed-phase or in-phase condition for water and fat signals (depending on echo time). They completely avoid (i) susceptibility-induced artefacts due to the very short echo times, (ii) radiofrequency power limitations due to excitations with flip angles of 10 degrees or less, and ( iii) the risk of peripheral nerve stimulation due to the use of normal gradient switching modes. For a section thickness of 8 mm, real-time images offer a spatial resolution and total acquisition time of 1.5 mm at 30 ms and 2.0 mm at 22 ms, respectively. Conclusions: Though awaiting thorough clinical evaluation, this work describes a robust and flexible acquisition and reconstruction technique for real-time CMR at the ultimate limit of this technology.
Issue Date
Biomed Central Ltd
Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance 



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