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Open AccessArticle

Evaluation of 2D Imaging Schemes for Pulsed Arterial Spin Labeling of the Human Kidney Cortex

Sir Peter Mansfield Imaging Centre, School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nottingham, Nottingham NG7 2RD, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diagnostics 2018, 8(3), 43;
Received: 25 May 2018 / Revised: 18 June 2018 / Accepted: 25 June 2018 / Published: 28 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Functional and Molecular Imaging of Kidney and Urogenital Disease)
A number of imaging readout schemes are proposed for renal arterial spin labeling (ASL) to quantify kidney cortex perfusion, including gradient echo-based methods of balanced fast field echo (bFFE) and gradient-echo echo-planar imaging (GE-EPI), or spin echo-based schemes of spin-echo echo-planar imaging (SE-EPI) and turbo spin-echo (TSE). Here, we compare these two-dimensional (2D) imaging schemes to evaluate the optimal imaging scheme for pulsed ASL (PASL) assessment of human kidney cortex perfusion at 3 T. Ten healthy volunteers with normal renal function were scanned using each 2D multi-slice imaging scheme, in combination with a respiratory triggered flow-sensitive alternating inversion recovery (FAIR) ASL scheme on a 3 T Philips Achieva scanner. All volunteers returned for a second identical scan session within two weeks of the first scan session. Comparisons were made between the imaging schemes in terms of perfusion-weighted image (PWI) signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and perfusion quantification, temporal SNR (tSNR), spatial coverage, and repeatability. For each imaging scheme, the renal cortex perfusion was calculated (bFFE: 276 ± 29 mL/100g/min, GE-EPI: 222 ± 18 mL/100g/min, SE-EPI: 201 ± 36 mL/100g/min, and TSE: 200 ± 20 mL/100g/min). Perfusion was found to be higher for GE-based readouts when compared with SE-based readouts, with significantly higher measured perfusion for the bFFE readout when compared with all other schemes (p < 0.05), attributed to the greater vascular signal present. Despite the PWI-SNR being significantly lower for SE-EPI when compared with all other schemes (p < 0.05), the SE-EPI readout gave the highest tSNR, and was found to be the most reproducible scheme for the assessment of kidney cortex, with a coefficient of variation (CoV) of 17.2%, whilst minimizing variability of the perfusion-weighted signal across slices for whole-kidney perfusion assessment. For the assessment of kidney cortex perfusion using 2D readout schemes, SE-EPI provides optimal tSNR, minimal variability across slices, and repeatable data acquired in a short scan time with low specific absorption rate. View Full-Text
Keywords: magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); arterial spin labeling; renal MRI; perfusion; renal ASL magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); arterial spin labeling; renal MRI; perfusion; renal ASL
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Buchanan, C.E.; Cox, E.F.; Francis, S.T. Evaluation of 2D Imaging Schemes for Pulsed Arterial Spin Labeling of the Human Kidney Cortex. Diagnostics 2018, 8, 43.

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