Analysis of artefacts and detail resolution of lung MRI with breath-hold T1-weighted gradient-echo and T2-weighted fast spin-echo sequences with respiratory triggering
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The aim of this study was to evaluate feasibility and limitations of two MR sequences for imaging of the lung using a semi-quantitative rating scale. Ten healthy volunteers were assessed with a breath-hold T1-weighted gradient-recalled-echo (TR/TE=129/2.2 ms, matrix 173×256) and a T2-weighted turbo spin-echo (TSE) sequence with respiratory triggering (TR/TE=3000–5000/120 ms, matrix 270×512) in axial 6-mm slices. The T1-weighted GRE protocol included a pre-saturation pulse over the mediastinal structures. Artefacts and resolution of vessel/airway structures in each lung segment were evaluated by two observers (10 volunteers, 180 segments). Cardiac and vessel pulsation artefacts predominated on T1-weighted GRE, respiration artefacts on T2-weighted TSE (lingula and middle lobe). Pre-saturation of the mediastinum reduced pulsation artefacts on T1-weighted GRE. T1-weighted GRE images were improved by bright flow signal of vessels, whereas image quality of T2-weighted TSE was reduced by black-blood effects in central parts of the lung. Delineation of lung periphery and the mediastinum was superior with T2-weighted TSE. Segmental/sub-segmental vessels (up to fourth/fifth order) and bronchi (up to third order) were identified. All 180 lung segments were imaged in diagnostic quality with at least one of the two sequences (T1-weighted GRE not diagnostic in 9 of 180, T2-weighted TSE in 4 of 180). Both sequences were found to be complementary: superior identification of gross lung anatomy with T1-weighted GRE and higher detail resolution in the periphery and the mediastinum with T2–weighted TSE.
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