Transverse relaxometry with reduced echo train lengths via stimulated echo compensation



Transverse relaxation (T2) mapping has many applications, including imaging of iron accumulation in grey matter. Using the typical multiecho spin-echo sequence with long echo trains, stimulated echo compensation can enable T2 fitting under conditions of variable radio frequency homogeneity arising from slice profile and in-plane radio frequency variation. Substantial reduction in the number of refocusing pulses could enable use at high magnetic fields where specific absorption rate is a major limitation, and enable multislice use with reduced incidental magnetization transfer at all field strengths. We examine the effect of reduced echo train lengths and multislice imaging on T2 fitting using stimulated echo compensation applied to iron-rich subcortical grey matter in human brain at 4.7 T. Our findings indicate that reducing from 20 echoes to as few as four echoes can maintain consistent T2 values when using stimulated echo compensation in grey and white matter, but not for cerebrospinal fluid. All territories produce marginal results when using standard exponential fitting. Savings from reduced echoes can be used to substantially increase slice coverage. In multislice mode, the resulting incidental magnetization transfer decreased brain signal but had minimal effect on measured T2 values. Magn Reson Med 70:1340–1346, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.