Non-contrast-enhanced flow-independent peripheral MR angiography with balanced SSFP

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Abstract

Flow-independent angiography is a non-contrast-enhanced technique that can generate vessel contrast even with reduced blood flow in the lower extremities. A method is presented for producing these angiograms with magnetization-prepared balanced steady-state free precession (bSSFP). Because bSSFP yields bright fat signal, robust fat suppression is essential for detailed depiction of the vasculature. Therefore, several strategies have been investigated to improve the reliability of fat suppression within short scan times. Phase-sensitive SSFP can efficiently suppress fat; however, partial volume effects due to fat and water occupying the same voxel can lead to the loss of blood signal. In contrast, alternating repetition time (ATR) SSFP minimizes this loss; however, the level of suppression is compromised by field inhomogeneity. Finally, a new double-acquisition ATR-SSFP technique reduces this sensitivity to off-resonance. In vivo results indicate that the two ATR-based techniques provide more reliable contrast when partial volume effects are significant. Magn Reson Med, 2009. © 2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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