Ultra-fast low-angle rapid acquisition and relaxation enhancement (UFLARE) in patients with epilepsy
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MRI is an important diagnostic tool in patients with epilepsy, but patient motion during long scans may result in image artefacts. We studied the utility of an ultra-fast MR sequence in patients with epilepsy. Ultra-fast low-angle rapid acquisition and relaxation enhancement (UFLARE) images were acquired for 100 consecutive patients and nine control subjects. Scans were compared with routine T2-weighted spin echo images for signal-to-noise ratio, contrast, and conspicuity, followed by a blind review of lesion detectability. UFLARE scans were also acquired for 15 patients who moved during conventional scans. All UFLARE scans had lower signal-to-noise ratios and lower contrast than the T2-weighted images. Compared with T1- and T2-weighted, PD and FLAIR images, 86% of hippocampal sclerosis (HS), 92% of large but only 24% of small white-matter lesions were detected on the blind review of the UFLARE images. Reduced motion artefacts were seen on the UFLARE images in all 15 patients who moved during the conventional scans, and in three patients UFLARE was the only sequence we were able to obtain. Despite the lower lesion detectability for smaller lesions, the use of an ultra-fast MRI sequence such as UFLARE may be very useful in patients who are not able to co-operate during conventional MRI examinations, if a general anaesthetic is to be avoided.
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