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Magn Reson Med. 2012 Jul;68(1):54-64. doi: 10.1002/mrm.23199. Epub 2011 Dec 2.

Simultaneous variable flip angle-actual flip angle imaging method for improved accuracy and precision of three-dimensional T1 and B1 measurements.

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Department of Medical Physics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.


A new time-efficient and accurate technique for simultaneous mapping of T(1) and B(1) is proposed based on a combination of the actual flip angle (FA) imaging and variable FA methods. Variable FA-actual FA imaging utilizes a single actual FA imaging and one or more spoiled gradient-echo acquisitions with a simultaneous nonlinear fitting procedure to yield accurate T(1)/B(1) maps. The advantage of variable FA-actual FA imaging is high accuracy at either short T(1) times or long repetition times in the actual FA imaging sequence. Simulations show this method is accurate to 0.03% in FA and 0.07% in T(1) for ratios of repetition time to T1 time over the range of 0.01-0.45. We show for the case of brain imaging that it is sufficient to use only one small FA spoiled gradient-echo acquisition, which results in reduced spoiling requirements and a significant scan time reduction compared to the original variable FA method. In vivo validation yielded high-quality 3D T(1) maps and T(1) measurements within 10% of previously published values and within a clinically acceptable scan time. The variable FA-actual FA imaging method will increase the accuracy and clinical feasibility of many quantitative MRI methods requiring T(1)/B(1) mapping such as dynamic contrast enhanced perfusion and quantitative magnetization transfer imaging.

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