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To accelerate and optimize black blood properties of the quadruple inversion recovery (QIR) technique for imaging the abdominal aortic wall.QIR inversion delays were optimized for different heart rates in simulations and phantom studies by minimizing the steady state magnetization of blood for T1 = 100–1400 ms. To accelerate and improve black blood properties of aortic vessel wall imaging, the QIR prepulse was combined with zoom imaging and (a) “traditional” and (b) “trailing” electrocardiogram (ECG) triggering. Ten volunteers were imaged pre- and post-contrast administration using a conventional ECG-triggered double inversion recovery (DIR) and the two QIR implementations in combination with a zoom-TSE readout.The QIR implemented with “trailing” ECG-triggering resulted in consistently good blood suppression as the second inversion delay was timed during maximum systolic flow in the aorta. The blood signal-to-noise ratio and vessel wall to blood contrast-to-noise ratio, vessel wall sharpness, and image quality scores showed a statistically significant improvement compared with the traditional QIR implementation with and without ECG-triggering.We demonstrate that aortic vessel wall imaging can be accelerated with zoom imaging and that “trailing” ECG-triggering improves black blood properties of the aorta which is subject to motion and variable blood flow during the cardiac cycle. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2011;. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.