Cardiovascular MR imaging at 3 T: Opportunities, challenges, and solutions

Prabhakar Rajiah, Michael A. Bolen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Although 3-T magnetic resonance (MR) imaging is well established in neuroradiology and musculoskeletal imaging, it is in the nascent stages in cardiovascular imaging applications, and there is limited literature on this topic. The primary advantage of 3 T over 1.5 T is a higher signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), which can be used as such or traded off to improve spatial or temporal resolution and decrease acquisition time. However, the actual gain in SNR is limited by other factors and modifications in sequences adapted for use at 3 T. Higher resonance frequencies result in improved spectral resolution, which is beneficial for fat suppression and spectroscopy. The higher T1 values of tissues at 3 T aid in myocardial tagging, angiography, and perfusion and delayed-enhancement sequences. However, there are substantial challenges with 3-T cardiac MR imaging, including higher magnetic field and radiofrequency inhomogeneities and susceptibility effects, which diminish image quality. Off-resonance artifacts are particularly challenging, especially with steady-state free precession sequences. These artifacts can be managed by using higher-order shimming, frequency scouts, or low repetition times. B1 inhomogeneities can be managed by using radiofrequency shimming, multitransmit coils, or adiabatic pulses. Chemical shifts are also increased at 3 T. The higher radiofrequency results in higher radiofrequency deposition power and a higher specific absorption rate. MR angiography, dynamic first-pass perfusion sequences, myocardial tagging, and MR spectroscopy are more effective at 3 T, whereas delayed-enhancement, flow quantification, and black-blood sequences are comparable at 1.5 T and 3 T. Knowledge of the relevant physics helps in identifying artifacts and modifying sequences to optimize image quality.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1612-1636
Number of pages25
Issue number6
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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