Improvement of vessel visibility in time-of-flight MR angiography of the brain

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PurposeTo improve vessel visibility in time-of-flight MR angiography (TOF-MRA) by careful consideration of coil choice, coil position, and frequency offset and profile of the nonspatially selective chemical shift selective (CHESS) presaturation pulse.Materials and MethodsThe effects of both the CHESS and the excitation radiofrequency (RF) pulses on flow signal and signals from stationary substances were evaluated by changing the spatial area where RF pulses were applied to upstream flow in a flow phantom and in human subjects. The difference between the eight-channel phased-array receive-only coil and the transmit–receive coil was evaluated.ResultsThe CHESS pulse suppresses the flow signal over a wider frequency range than the signals from stationary substances, especially when using the body coil for transmission. Even without presaturation pulse, the excitation pulse slightly suppressed the flow signal. Adjusting the position of the transmit–receive coil relative to the head improved these TOF-MRA images. The results were better than those obtained with the eight-channel coil.ConclusionThe excitation and the nonspatially selective CHESS pulses degraded the flow signal. Our results suggest that reduced spatial extent of RF pulse application to upstream flow can improve image quality of TOF-MRA. This result can be implemented on conventional scanners. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2008;27:1362–1370. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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