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Magn Reson Imaging. 2004 Jul;22(6):751-9.

Single-shot fast spin-echo diffusion tensor imaging of the brain and spine with head and phased array coils at 1.5 T and 3.0 T.

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Department of Radiology, University of California, San Francisco CA, USA.


In this study, we investigated the use of a single-shot fast spin-echo-based sequence to perform diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) with improved anatomic fidelity through the entire brain and the cervical spine. Traditionally, diffusion tensor images have been acquired by single-shot echo-planar imaging (EPI) methods in which large distortions result from magnetic susceptibility effects, especially near air-tissue interfaces. These distortions can be problematic, especially in anterior and inferior portions of the brain, and they also can severely limit applications in the spine. At higher magnetic fields these magnetic susceptibility artifacts are increased. The single-shot fast spin-echo (SSFSE) method used in this study utilizes radiofrequency rephasing in the transverse plane and thus provides diffusion images with negligible distortion even at 3 Tesla. In addition, the SSFSE sequence does not require multiple fast-receivers, which are not available on many magnetic resonance (MR) systems. Phased array coils were used to increase the signal-to-noise ratio of the images, offering a major inherent advantage in diffusion tensor imaging of the spine and brain. The mean diffusion measurements obtained with the SSFSE acquisition were not statistically different (p > 0.05) from EPI-based acquisitions. Compared to routine T(2)-weighted MR images, the DTI-EPI sequence showed up to 20% in elongation of the brain in the anterior-posterior direction on a sagittal image due to magnetic susceptibility distortions, whereas in the DTI-SSFSE, the image distortions were negligible. The diffusion tensor SSFSE method was also able to assess diffusion abnormalities in a brain stem hemorrhage, unaffected by the spatial distortions that limited conventional EPI acquisition.

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