Myocardial first pass perfusion: Steady-state free precession versus spoiled gradient echo and segmented echo planar imaging
Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted
The imaging sequences used in first pass (FP) perfusion to date have important limitations in contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR), temporal and spatial resolution, and myocardial coverage. As a result, controversy exists about optimal imaging strategies for FP myocardial perfusion. Since imaging performance varies from subject to subject, it is difficult to form conclusions without direct comparison of different sequences in the same subject. The purpose of this study was to directly compare the saturation recovery SSFP technique to other more commonly used myocardial first pass perfusion techniques, namely spoiled GRE and segmented EPI. Differences in signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), CNR, relative maximal upslope (RMU) of signal amplitude, and artifacts at comparable temporal and spatial resolution among the three sequences were investigated in computer simulation, contrast agent doped phantoms, and 16 volunteers. The results demonstrate that SSFP perfusion images exhibit an improvement of approximately 77% in SNR and 23% in CNR over spoiled GRE and 85% SNR and 50% CNR over segmented EPI. Mean RMU was similar between SSFP and spoiled GRE, but there was a 58% increase in RMU with SSFP versus segmented EPI.