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Keywords:

  • cerebral perfusion;
  • bolus tracking;
  • dynamic susceptibility contrast;
  • dynamic susceptibility contrast;
  • perfusion weighted imaging (PWI)

Abstract

Imaging of cerebral perfusion by tracking the first passage of an exogenous paramagnetic contrast agent (termed dynamic susceptibility contrast, MRI) has been used in the clinical practice for about a decade. However, the primary goal of dynamic susceptibility contrast MRI to directly quantify the local cerebral blood flow remains elusive. The major challenge of dynamic susceptibility contrast MRI is to measure the contrast inflow to the brain, i.e., the arterial input function. The measurement is complicated by the limited dynamic range of MRI pulse sequences that are optimized for a good contrast in brain tissue but are suboptimal for a much higher tracer concentration in arterial blood. In this work, we suggest a novel method for direct arterial input function quantification. The arterial input function is measured in the carotid arteries with a dedicated plug-in to the conventional pulse sequence to enable resolution of T2 on the order of a millisecond. The new technique is compatible with the clinical measurement protocols. Applied to the pig model (N = 13), the method demonstrates robustness of the arterial input function measurement. The cardiac output and cerebral blood volume, obtained without adjustable parameters, agree well with positron emission tomography measurements and values found in the literature. Magn Reson Med, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.