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Keywords:

  • three-dimensional cones;
  • coronary angiography;
  • motion compensation;
  • navigator image

Noninvasive visualization of the coronary arteries in vivo is one of the most important goals in cardiovascular imaging. Compared to other paradigms for coronary MR angiography, a free-breathing three-dimensional whole-heart iso-resolution approach simplifies prescription effort, requires less patient cooperation, reduces overall exam time, and supports retrospective reformats at arbitrary planes. However, this approach requires a long continuous acquisition and must account for respiratory and cardiac motion throughout the scan. In this work, a new free-breathing coronary MR angiography technique that reduces scan time and improves robustness to motion is developed. Data acquisition is accomplished using a three-dimensional cones non-Cartesian trajectory, which can reduce the number of readouts 3-fold or more compared to conventional three-dimensional Cartesian encoding and provides greater robustness to motion/flow effects. To further enhance robustness to motion, two-dimensional navigator images are acquired to directly track respiration-induced displacement of the heart and enable retrospective compensation of all acquired data (none discarded) for image reconstruction. In addition, multiple cardiac phases are imaged to support retrospective selection of the best phase(s) for visualizing each coronary segment. Experimental results demonstrate that whole-heart coronary angiograms can be obtained rapidly and robustly with this proposed technique. Magn Reson Med 69:1083–1093, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.