Susceptibility weighted imaging at ultra high magnetic field strengths: Theoretical considerations and experimental results



We present numerical simulations and experimental results for susceptibility weighted imaging (SWI) at 7 T. Magnitude, phase, and SWI contrast were simulated for different voxel geometries and imaging parameters, resulting in an echo time of 14 msec for optimum contrast between veins and surrounding tissue. Slice thickness of twice the in-plane voxel size or more resulted in optimum vessel visibility. Phantom and in vivo data are in very good agreement with the simulations and the delineation of vessels at 7 T was superior compared to lower field strengths. The phase of the complex data reveals anatomical details that are complementary to the corresponding magnitude images. Susceptibility weighted imaging at very high field strengths is a promising technique because of its high sensitivity to tissue susceptibility, its low specific absorption rate, and the phase's negligible sensitivity to B1 inhomogeneities. Magn Reson Med 60:1155–1168, 2008. © Wiley-Liss, Inc.