Abdominal T2-Weighted Imaging and T2 Mapping Using a Variable Flip Angle Radial Turbo Spin-Echo Technique

Mahesh B. Keerthivasan, Jean Philippe Galons, Kevin Johnson, Lavanya Umapathy, Diego R. Martin, Ali Bilgin, Maria I. Altbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: T2 mapping is of great interest in abdominal imaging but current methods are limited by low resolution, slice coverage, motion sensitivity, or lengthy acquisitions. Purpose: Develop a radial turbo spin-echo technique with refocusing variable flip angles (RADTSE-VFA) for high spatiotemporal T2 mapping and efficient slice coverage within a breath-hold and compare to the constant flip angle counterpart (RADTSE-CFA). Study Type: Prospective technical efficacy. Subjects: Testing performed on agarose phantoms and 12 patients. Focal liver lesion classification tested on malignant (N = 24) and benign (N = 11) lesions. Field Strength/Sequence: 1.5 T/RADTSE-VFA, RADTSE-CFA. Assessment: A constrained objective function was used to optimize the refocusing flip angles. Phantom and/or in vivo data were used to assess relative contrast, T2 estimation, specific absorption rate (SAR), and focal liver lesion classification. Statistical Tests: t-Tests or Mann–Whitney Rank Sum tests were used. Results: Phantom data did not show significant differences in mean relative contrast (P = 0.10) and T2 accuracy (P = 0.99) between RADTSE-VFA and RADTSE-CFA. Adding noise caused T2 overestimation predominantly for RADTSE-CFA and low T2 values. In vivo results did not show significant differences in mean spleen-to-liver (P = 0.62) and kidney-to-liver (P = 0.49) relative contrast between RADTSE-VFA and RADTSE-CFA. Mean T2 values were not significantly different between the two techniques for spleen (T2VFA = 109.2 ± 12.3 msec; T2CFA = 110.7 ± 11.1 msec; P = 0.78) and kidney-medulla (T2VFA = 113.0 ± 8.7 msec; T2CFA = 114.0 ± 8.6 msec; P = 0.79). Liver T2 was significantly higher for RADTSE-CFA (T2VFA = 52.6 ± 6.6 msec; T2CFA = 60.4 ± 8.0 msec) consistent with T2 overestimation in the phantom study. Focal liver lesion classification had comparable T2 distributions for RADTSE-VFA and RADTSE-CFA for malignancies (P = 1.0) and benign lesions (P = 0.39). RADTSE-VFA had significantly lower SAR than RADTSE-CFA increasing slice coverage by 1.5. Data Conclusion: RADTSE-VFA provided noise-robust T2 estimation compared to the constant flip angle counterpart while generating T2-weighted images with comparable contrast. The VFA scheme minimized SAR improving slice efficiency for breath-hold imaging. Level of Evidence: 2. Technical Efficacy Stage: 1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

Keywords

  • abdominal imaging
  • radial MRI
  • T2 mapping
  • turbo spin-echo
  • variable flip angle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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