An ECG-gated, 3D steady-state free precession (SSFP) technique in conjunction with sensitivity encoding (SENSE)-based parallel imaging was implemented for short breath-hold, volumetric coronary MR angiograpy (CMRA). Two parallel imaging acquisition strategies (employing 1 R-R and 2 R-R intervals, respectively) were developed to achieve 1) very short breath-hold times (12 s for a heart rate of 60 bpm), and 2) small acquisition windows to minimize sensitivity to physiologic motion. Both strategies were examined in CMRA applications over a range of heart rates. A four-point scale blinded reading (with 4 indicating the most desirable features) revealed substantial image quality improvements for the accelerated data as compared to the nonaccelerated approach. The 1 R-R interval scheme yielded an image score of 3.39 ± 0.60, and was found to be particularly suitable for low heart rates (P = 0.0008). The 2 R-R interval strategy yielded an image score of 3.35 ± 0.64, and was more appropriate for higher heart rates (P = 0.03). The results demonstrate that 3D SSFP combined with parallel imaging is a versatile method for short breath-hold CMRA while maintaining high spatial resolution. This strategy permits imaging of the major coronary artery distributions in two to three breath-holds using targeted slabs, and offers the potential for single breath-hold, large-volume CMRA.
- Coronary MR angiography
- Parallel imaging
- Short breath-hold
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging