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Spin echo versus stimulated echo diffusion tensor imaging of the in vivo human heart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)862–872
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number3
Early online date7 Oct 2015
E-pub ahead of print7 Oct 2015
PublishedSep 2016


King's Authors


Purpose: To compare signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) efficiency and diffusion tensor metrics of cardiac diffusion tensor mapping using acceleration-compensated spin-echo (SE) and stimulated echo acquisition mode (STEAM) imaging. Methods: Diffusion weighted SE and STEAM sequences were implemented on a clinical 1.5 Tesla MR system. The SNR efficiency of SE and STEAM was measured (b = 50-450 s/mm2) in isotropic agar, anisotropic diffusion phantoms and the in vivo human heart. Diffusion tensor analysis was performed on mean diffusivity, fractional anisotropy, helix and transverse angles. Results: In the isotropic phantom, the ratio of SNR efficiency for SE versus STEAM, SNRt(SE/STEAM), was 2.84 ± 0.08 for all tested b-values. In the anisotropic diffusion phantom the ratio decreased from 2.75 ± 0.05 to 2.20 ± 0.13 with increasing b-value, similar to the in vivo decrease from 2.91 ± 0.43 to 2.30 ± 0.30. Diffusion tensor analysis revealed reduced deviation of helix angles from a linear transmural model and reduced transverse angle standard deviation for SE compared with STEAM. Mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy were measured to be statistically different (P < 0.001) between SE and STEAM. Conclusion: Cardiac DTI using motion-compensated SE yields a 2.3-2.9× increase in SNR efficiency relative to STEAM and improved accuracy of tensor metrics. The SE method hence presents an attractive alternative to STEAM based approaches.

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