Steady-state MR imaging sequences: physics, classification, and clinical applications

Radiographics : a Review Publication of the Radiological Society of North America, Inc
Govind B ChavhanManohar M Shroff

Abstract

Steady-state sequences are a class of rapid magnetic resonance (MR) imaging techniques based on fast gradient-echo acquisitions in which both longitudinal magnetization (LM) and transverse magnetization (TM) are kept constant. Both LM and TM reach a nonzero steady state through the use of a repetition time that is shorter than the T2 relaxation time of tissue. When TM is maintained as multiple radiofrequency excitation pulses are applied, two types of signal are formed once steady state is reached: preexcitation signal (S-) from echo reformation; and postexcitation signal (S+), which consists of free induction decay. Depending on the signal sampled and used to form an image, steady-state sequences can be classified as (a) postexcitation refocused (only S+ is sampled), (b) preexcitation refocused (only S- is sampled), and (c) fully refocused (both S+ and S- are sampled) sequences. All tissues with a reasonably long T2 relaxation time will show additional signals due to various refocused echo paths. Steady-state sequences have revolutionized cardiac imaging and have become the standard for anatomic functional cardiac imaging and for the assessment of myocardial viability because of their good signal-to-noise ratio and contrast-to...Continue Reading

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