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J Magn Reson Imaging. 2005 Apr;21(4):376-82.

Parallel acquisition techniques for accelerated volumetric interpolated breath-hold examination magnetic resonance imaging of the upper abdomen: assessment of image quality and lesion conspicuity.

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Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University Hospital Essen, Essen, Germany.



To evaluate the impact of parallel acquisition techniques (PATs) on image quality and detection of liver metastases using three-dimensional volumetric interpolated breath-hold examination (VIBE) for clinical liver imaging.


Forty-nine patients with various primary malignancies underwent abdominal dynamic contrast-enhanced three-dimensional VIBE magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) (1.5 T) using a standard phased array coil. Recently introduced Generalized Autocalibrating Partially Parallel Acquisition (GRAPPA) and SENSitivity Encoding (mSENSE) PAT reconstruction algorithms were added to reduce scan time twofold. Overall image quality, motion, and aliasing artifacts were classified on a 5-point scale. Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) measurements were performed for quantitative comparison. All sequences were evaluated concerning the number of detected lesions.


PAT resulted in a reduction of data acquisition time from 23 to 13 seconds. Both GRAPPA and mSENSE data sets yielded 30% less SNR (34.8 +/- 14.1 and 33.1 +/- 13.3, P < 0.001) and 35% less CNR (21.2 +/- 15.0 and 20.9 +/- 12.7, P < 0.05) in comparison to unaccelerated VIBE (SNR = 50.8 +/- 20.3/CNR = 32.5 +/- 19.1). Similarly, PAT revealed lower-image-quality scores than unaccelerated VIBE. GRAPPA resulted in more fold-over artifacts than mSENSE. mSENSE revealed slightly fewer motion artifacts than no PAT. The unaccelerated late-venous-phase VIBE sequence revealed 146 lesions in the same patients. Accelerated images with mSENSE reconstruction detected 138 lesions. GRAPPA revealed 127 lesions, and thus performed inferior to mSENSE.


At least for arrays with small numbers of elements, such as arrays used in this study, the PAT-induced reduction in scanning times must be weighed against compromises in image quality, which translate into poorer diagnostic performance regarding detection of small hepatic lesions. Thus, the PAT implementations tested in this study should probably be reserved for patients unable to hold their breaths for regular three-dimensional VIBE data sets.

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