Purpose: To optimize and assess the feasibility of a single-shot black-blood T2-weighted spin-echo echo-planar imaging (SSBB-EPI) sequence for MRI of the liver using sensitivity encoding (SENSE), and compare the results with those obtained with a T2-weighted turbo spin-echo (TSE) sequence. Materials and Methods: Six volunteers and 16 patients were scanned at 1.5T (Philips Intera). In the volunteer study, we optimized the SSBB-EPI sequence by interactively changing the parameters (i.e., the resolution, echo time (TE), diffusion weighting with low b-values, and polarity of the phase-encoding gradient) with regard to distortion, suppression of the blood signal, and sensitivity to motion. The influence of each change was assessed. The optimized SSBB-EPI sequence was applied in patients (N = 16). A number of items, including the overall image quality (on a scale of 1-5), were used for graded evaluation. In addition, the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the liver was calculated. Statistical analysis was carried out with the use of Wilcoxon's signed rank test for comparison of the SSBB-EPI and TSE sequences, with P = 0.05 considered the limit for significance. Results: The SSBB-EPI sequence was improved by the following steps: 1) less frequency points than phase-encoding steps, 2) a b-factor of 20, and 3) a reversed polarity of the phase-encoding gradient. In patients, the mean overall image quality score for the optimized SSBB-EPI (3.5 (range: 1-4)) and TSE (3.6 (range: 3-4)), and the SNR of the liver on SSBB-EPI (mean ± SD = 7.6 ± 4.0) and TSE (8.9 ± 4.6) were not significantly different (P > .05). Conclusion: Optimized SSBB-EPI with SENSE proved to be feasible in patients, and the overall image quality and SNR of the liver were comparable to those achieved with the standard respiratory-triggered T2-weighted TSE sequence.

Black blood, Diffusion-weighted imaging, Echo-planar imaging, Image optimization, Image quality, Liver, MR, T2-weighted images, Turbo spin-echo
dx.doi.org/10.1002/jmri.20269, hdl.handle.net/1765/66683
Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Hussain, S.M, Becker, J, Hop, W.C.J, Dwarkasing, R.S, & Wielopolski, P.A. (2005). Can a single-shot black-blood T2-weighted spin-echo echo-planar imaging sequence with sensitivity encoding replace the respiratory-triggered turbo spin-echo sequence for the liver? An optimization and feasibility study. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging, 21(3), 219–229. doi:10.1002/jmri.20269