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Simulation-based optimization and experimental comparison of intracranial T2-weighted DANTE-SPACE vessel wall imaging at 3T and 7T

Publication year 2024
Published in Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
Authors Matthijs H S de Buck, Aaron T Hess, Peter Jezzard

PURPOSE: T2-weighted DANTE-SPACE (Delay Alternating with Nutation for Tailored Excitation - Sampling Perfection with Application optimized Contrasts using different flip angle Evolution) sequences facilitate non-invasive intracranial vessel wall imaging at 7T through simultaneous suppression of blood and CSF. However, the achieved vessel wall delineation depends closely on the selected sequence parameters, and little information is available about the performance of the sequence using more widely available 3T MRI. Therefore, in this paper a comprehensive DANTE-SPACE simulation framework is used for the optimization and quantitative comparison of T2-weighted DANTE-SPACE at both 7T and 3T.

METHODS: Simulations are used to propose optimized sequence parameters at both 3T and 7T. At 7T, an additional protocol which uses a parallel transmission (pTx) shim during the DANTE preparation for improved suppression of inflowing blood is also proposed. Data at both field strengths using optimized and literature protocols are acquired and quantitatively compared in six healthy volunteers.

RESULTS: At 7T, more vessel wall signal can be retained while still achieving sufficient CSF suppression by using fewer DANTE pulses than described in previous implementations. The use of a pTx shim during DANTE at 7T provides a modest further improvement to the inner vessel wall delineation. At 3T, aggressive DANTE preparation is required to achieve CSF suppression, resulting in reduced vessel wall signal. As a result, the achievable vessel wall definition at 3T is around half that of 7T.

CONCLUSION: Simulation-based optimization of DANTE parameters facilitates improved T2-weighted DANTE-SPACE contrasts at 7T. The improved vessel definition of T2-weighted DANTE-SPACE at 7T makes DANTE preparation more suitable for T2-weighted VWI at 7T than at 3T.

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