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Keywords:

  • chemical shift encoding;
  • water;
  • fat;
  • free-breathing;
  • 3D

Purpose

To develop and evaluate a free-breathing chemical-shift-encoded (CSE) spoiled gradient-recalled echo (SPGR) technique for whole-heart water–fat imaging at 3 Tesla (T).

Methods

We developed a three-dimensional (3D) multi-echo SPGR pulse sequence with electrocardiographic gating and navigator echoes and evaluated its performance at 3T in healthy volunteers (N = 6) and patients (N = 20). CSE-SPGR, 3D SPGR, and 3D balanced-SSFP with chemical fat saturation were compared in six healthy subjects with images evaluated for overall image quality, level of residual artifacts, and quality of fat suppression. A similar scoring system was used for the patient datasets.

Results

Images of diagnostic quality were acquired in all but one subject. CSE-SPGR performed similarly to SPGR with fat saturation, although it provided a more uniform fat suppression over the whole field of view. Balanced-SSFP performed worse than SPGR-based methods. In patients, CSE-SPGR produced excellent fat suppression near metal. Overall image quality was either good (7/20) or excellent (12/20) in all but one patient. There were significant artifacts in 5/20 clinical cases.

Conclusion

CSE-SPGR is a promising technique for whole-heart water–fat imaging during free-breathing. The robust fat suppression in the water-only image could improve assessment of complex morphology at 3T and in the presence of off-resonance, with additional information contained in the fat-only image. Magn Reson Med 72:718–725, 2014. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.