T1 Mapping using variable flip angle SPGR data with flip angle correction

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Abstract

Purpose:

To improve the calculation of T1 relaxation time from a set of variable flip-angle (FA) spoiled gradient recalled echo images.

Materials and Methods:

The proposed method: (a) uses a uniform weighting of all FAs, (b) takes into account global inaccuracies in the generation of the prescribed FAs by estimating the actual FAs, and (c) incorporates data-driven local B1 inhomogeneity corrections. The method was validated and its accuracy tested using simulated data, phantom, and in vivo experiments. Results were compared with existing analysis methods and to inversion recovery (IR). Consistency was assessed by means of repeated scans of two subjects. Reference values were obtained from eight healthy subjects from various brain regions and compared with literature values.

Results:

The method accurately and consistently estimated T1 values in all cases. The method was more robust, in comparison with the standard method, to the choice of FA set; to inaccuracies in generation of the prescribed FAs (in simulated data, T1 estimation error was 12.1 ms versus 235.5 ms); demonstrated greater consistency (in vivo study showed interscan T1 difference of 80 ms versus 356 ms); and achieved a better agreement with IR on phantom (median absolute difference of 123.8 ms versus 790 ms). Reference T1 values were 883/801 ms for female/male in white matter and 1501/1349 ms in gray matter, within the range previously reported.

Conclusion:

The proposed method overcomes some inaccuracies in FA production, providing more accurate estimation of T1 values compared with standard methods, and is applicable for currently available data. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2014;40:171–180. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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