Comparison of Diffusion-Weighted Imaging in the Human Brain Using Readout-Segmented EPI and PROPELLER Turbo Spin Echo With Single-Shot EPI at 7 T MRI

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ObjectivesThe purpose of the present study was to compare periodically rotated overlapping parallel lines with enhanced reconstruction–type turbo spin echo diffusion-weighted imaging (pTSE-DWI) and readout-segmented echo planar imaging (rsEPI-DWI) with single-shot echo planar imaging (ssEPI-DWI) in a 7 T human MR system. We evaluated the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), image distortion, and apparent diffusion coefficient values in the human brain.Materials and MethodsSix healthy volunteers were included in this study. The study protocol was approved by our institutional review board. All measurements were performed at 7 T using pTSE-DWI, rsEPI-DWI, and ssEPI-DWI sequences. The spatial resolution was 1.2 × 1.2 mm2 in-plane with a 3-mm slice thickness. Signal-to-noise ratio was measured using 2 scans.ResultsThe ssEPI-DWI sequence showed significant image blurring, whereas pTSE-DWI and rsEPI-DWI sequences demonstrated high image quality with low geometrical distortion compared with reference T2-weighted, turbo spin echo images. Signal loss in ventral regions near the air-filled paranasal sinus/nasal cavity was found in ssEPI-DWI and rsEPI-DWI but not pTSE-DWI. The apparent diffusion coefficient values for ssEPI-DWI were 824 ± 17 × 10−6 and 749 ± 25 × 10−6 mm2/s in the gray matter and white matter, respectively; the values obtained for pTSE-DWI were 798 ± 21 × 10−6 and 865 ± 40 × 10−6 mm2/s; and the values obtained for rsEPI-DWI were 730 ± 12 × 10−6 and 722 ± 25 × 10−6 mm2/s. The pTSE-DWI images showed no additional distortion comparison to the T2-weighted images, but had a lower SNR than ssEPI-DWI and rsEPI-DWI. The rsEPI-DWI sequence provided high-quality images with minor distortion and a similar SNR to ssEPI-DWI.ConclusionsOur results suggest that the benefits of the rsEPI-DWI and pTSE-DWI sequences, in terms of SNR, image quality, and image distortion, appear to outweigh those of ssEPI-DWI. Thus, pTSE-DWI and rsEPI-DWI at 7 T have great potential use for clinical diagnoses. However, it is noteworthy that both sequences are limited by the scan time required. In addition, pTSE-DWI has limitations on the number of slices due to specific absorption rate. Overall, rsEPI-DWI is a favorable imaging sequence, taking into account the SNR and image quality at 7 T.

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