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Magn Reson Med. 2010 Oct;64(4):1098-108. doi: 10.1002/mrm.22510.

Tailoring the flow sensitivity of fast spin-echo sequences for noncontrast peripheral MR angiography.

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Radiology Department, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.


There has recently been renewed interest in noncontrast techniques for peripheral MR angiography following the discovery of an association between gadolinium-based contrast agents and nephrogenic systemic fibrosis in patients with renal insufficiency. The "fresh blood imaging" technique proposed by Miyazaki et al. involves the subtraction of two three-dimensional fast spin-echo image sets, one acquired in systole, when the arteries appear dark due to flow-related dephasing, and the other obtained in diastole, when the arteries are brighter. Our goal was to investigate how parameters of the fast spin-echo sequence influence its flow sensitivity, and how that in turn impacts the depiction of large and small arteries. Results from phantom experiments and human studies in the calf suggest that the flow sensitivity is governed largely by the flip angle of the radiofrequency refocusing pulses. The area of the spoiler gradients has a lesser effect, and at low flip angles the echo time plays a role. These parameters can be optimized to obtain good depiction of the calf arteries in healthy subjects. It remains to be seen whether they provide sufficient control over flow sensitivity to achieve diagnostic-quality images in other vascular beds and in the presence of pathology.

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