Alternating repetition time balanced steady state free precession

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Abstract

A novel balanced SSFP technique for the separation or suppression of different resonance frequencies (e.g., fat suppression) is presented. The method is based on applying two alternating and different repetition times, TR1 and TR2. This RF scheme manipulates the sensitivity of balanced SSFP to off-resonance effects by a modification of the frequency response profile. Starting from a general approach, an optimally broadened stopband within the frequency response function is designed. This is achieved with a TR2 being one third of TR1 and an RF-pulse phase increment of 90°. With this approach TR2 is too short (∼1 ms) to switch imaging gradients and is only used to change the frequency sensitivity. Without a significant change of the spectral position of the stopband, TR1 can be varied over a range of values (∼2.5–4.5 ms) while TR2 and phase cycling is kept constant. On-resonance spins show a magnetization behavior similar to balanced SSFP, but with maximal magnetization at flip angles about 10° lower than in balanced SSFP. The total scan time is increased by about 30% compared to conventional balanced SSFP. The new technique was applied on phantoms and volunteers to produce rapid, fat suppressed images. Magn Reson Med, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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