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Magn Reson Med. 2012 Feb;67(2):490-8. doi: 10.1002/mrm.23295. Epub 2011 Dec 9.

Prospective self-gating for swallowing motion: a feasibility study in carotid artery wall MRI using three-dimensional variable-flip-angle turbo spin-echo.

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Biomedical Imaging Research Institute, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California 90048, USA.


Three-dimensional black-blood MRI is a promising noninvasive imaging technique for the assessment of atherosclerotic carotid artery disease. However, this technique is inherently susceptible to motion. In particular, swallowing can result in considerable wall motion at the carotid bifurcations, which may induce drastic image degradation or substantial overestimation of wall thickness. Self-gating techniques have previously been shown to be capable of resolving and compensating for cardiac or respiratory motion during MRI. This work presents a self-gating-based prospective motion gating scheme that is combined with a three-dimensional variable-flip-angle turbo spin-echo sequence (SPACE) for detecting swallowing motion. Self-gating signal readouts along the superior-inferior direction during each repetition time period are used to derive the projection profiles of the imaging volume. Based on cross-correlation analysis between the projection profiles and the corresponding reference profiles, swallowing motion can be detected and the motion-contaminated data will subsequently be discarded and reacquired in the next repetition time. The self-gated SPACE sequence was validated on eight healthy volunteers and two patients and, when compared with the conventional SPACE sequence, proved to be more resistant to swallowing motion and significantly improved image quality as well as the sharpness of carotid artery wall boundaries.

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