Structural Imaging of the Cervical Spinal Cord with Suppressed CSF Signal Using DANTE Pulse Trains

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Purpose:We propose DANTE (Delays Alternating with Nutation for Tailored Excitation) moving fluid attenuation preparation pulse trains, in conjunction with T1, T2, and proton-density-weighted fast spin-echo (T1w-TSE, T2w-TSE and PDw-TSE) imaging readout, and three-dimensional fast low flip angle shots (3D-FLASH) T1-weighted imaging readout to achieve CSF-suppressed high-spatial resolution multicontrast cervical spinal cord images.Methods:DANTE pulse trains, consisting of a rapid series of low flip angle radiofrequency pulses interspersed with gradients, were used to substantially attenuate the longitudinal magnetization of flowing spins relative to static tissue/fluid, whose longitudinal magnetization is mostly preserved. We hypothesized that the contrast between spinal cord and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) could be maximized due to moving CSF signal suppression.Results:We demonstrate that metrics of contrast-to-noise ratio between spinal cord, nerve root, and CSF regions (CNRcord-CSF and CNRnerve-CSF) are improved by at least a factor of 2 when compared with images acquired with non-prepared approaches and with 2D multiple-echo data image combination (MEDIC) imaging. In addition, we find that sagittal image quality can be significantly improved due to flow suppression effects from the DANTE preparation pluses.Conclusion:DANTE prepared imaging techniques for moving CSF signal attenuation are promising tools for cervical spinal cord imaging. Magn Reson Med 74:971–977, 2015. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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