The present study aims to improve precision of four-dimensional (4D) phase-contrast (PC) MRI technique by using multiple velocity encoding (VENC) parameters.Theory and Methods:
The 3D flow fields in an in vitro stenosis phantom and an in vivo ascending aorta were determined using a 4D PC-MRI sequence with multiple VENC values. The velocity field obtained for large VENC was combined with that from small VENC, unless velocity data were lost by phase aliasing and phase dispersion. Noise levels of the combined velocity fields were compared with the increasing overlapping number of VENC parameters.Results:
The phantom measurement showed that the multi-VENC acquisition reduced the noise levels in radial and axial velocities (> 24 cm/s at VENC = 300 cm/s) down to 0.80 ± 0.45 cm/s and 5.60 ± 2.63 cm/s, respectively. This increased the velocity-to-noise ratio (VNR) by approximately two-fold to six-fold depending on the locations. As a result, the multi-VENC measurement could visualize the low-velocity recirculating flows more clearly.Conclusion:
The multi-VENC measurement of 4D PC-MRI sequence increased the VNR distribution by reducing velocity noise. The improved VNR can be beneficial for investigating blood flow structures in a flow field with a high velocity dynamic range. Magn Reson Med 75:1909–1919, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.