Gradient- and Spin-Echo T2-Weighted Imaging for Spio-Enhanced Detection and Characterization of Focal Liver Lesions

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To evaluate superparamagnetic iron oxide (SPIO)-enhanced breathhold T2-weighted GRASE imaging in detection and characterization of focal liver lesions.

Materials and Methods:

In 30 patients (including 20 with cirrhosis) with 39 malignant and 25 benign lesions, gradient- and spin-echo (GRASE) images with two echo times (75 and 90 msec; GRASE75 and GRASE90) were obtained prior to and following administration of SPIO, and compared with respiratory-triggered and breathhold fast spin-echo (RT-FSE and BH-FSE) images. Two readers evaluated image quality and reviewed 240 liver segments for sensitivity and specificity. Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), and its reduction in liver and spleen after administration of SPIO, and lesion-to-liver contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) were measured.


Compared with RT-FSE and BH-FSE, GRASE reduced scan time by 77% to 82% and 21% to 27%, respectively. The image qualities with BH-FSE and GRASE75 were higher than with BH-FSE and GRASE90. BH-FSE showed higher specificity than RT-FSE and GRASE90, but otherwise there were no significant differences between pulse sequences for sensitivity or specificity. The mean SNR and CNR of the lesions with RT-FSE were significantly higher than with the other methods. SPIO-induced signal reduction of liver SNR was smallest with BH-FSE.


GRASE is faster and more sensitive to SPIO than FSE, but its sensitivity and specificity were slightly inferior to those of BH-FSE. Image quality is a current limitation.

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