Applications of the golden angle in cardiovascular MRI

Abstract: The use of radial trajectories has been seen as a potential solution to highly efficient cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). By acquiring a broad range of spatial frequencies per repetition time, the acquisition is time-efficient and robust against motion. Of particular interest is the golden angle profile order, which promises a near-uniform k-space coverage for an arbitrary number of readouts, enabling flexible data resorting, which is critical for efficient cardiovascular MRI. In Study I the use of 2D golden angle profile ordering is explored for imaging pulmonary embolisms. The insensitivity to motion and flow is used to reduce the artifacts that otherwise degrade images of the pulmonary vasculature when imaging with thin slices. It was found that the proposed technique could improve the image quality. Another source of artifacts arises when gradients are rapidly switched, and local induction of eddy currents may perturb spin equilibrium. In Study II, we propose a generalized golden angle profile orderings in 3D which reduces eddy-current artifacts. We demonstrate the efficacy of our generalization through numerical simulations, phantom imaging and imaging of a healthy volunteer. In Study III an improved 2D golden angle profile ordering was explored which resulted in a higher degree of k-space uniformity after physiological binning. This novel profile ordering was used in combination with a phase-contrast readout to enable quantification of myocardial tissue velocity and transmitral blood flow velocity, which are essential parameters for diastolic function assessment. When compared to echocardiography, it was found that MRI could accurately quantify myocardial tissue velocity, whereas transmitral blood flow velocity was underestimated. Study IV explored a further development of Study III by proposing a 3D version of the improved profile ordering. This novel ordering was used to acquire whole-heart functional images during free-breathing in less than one minute. Together, these results indicate that golden-angle-based imaging has the potential to improve cardiovascular MRI in several areas.

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