Systematic evaluation of velocity-selective arterial spin labeling settings for placental perfusion measurement

Anita A. Harteveld*, Jana Hutter, Suzanne L. Franklin, Laurence H. Jackson, Mary Rutherford, Joseph V. Hajnal, Matthias J.P. van Osch, Clemens Bos, Enrico De Vita

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Placental function is key for successful human pregnancies. Perfusion may be a sensitive marker for the in vivo assessment of placental function. Arterial spin labeling (ASL) MRI enables noninvasive measurement of tissue perfusion and it was recently suggested that ASL with velocity-selective (VS) labeling could be advantageous in the placenta. We systematically evaluated essential VS-ASL sequence parameters to determine optimal settings for efficient placental perfusion measurements. Methods: Eleven pregnant women were scanned at 3T using VS-ASL with 2D multislice echo planar imaging (EPI)-readout. One reference VS-ASL scan was acquired in all subjects; within subgroups the following parameters were systematically varied: cutoff velocity, velocity encoding direction, and inflow time. Visual evaluation and region of interest analyses were performed to compare perfusion signal differences between acquisitions. Results: In all subjects, a perfusion pattern with clear hyperintense focal regions was observed. Perfusion signal decreased with inflow time and cutoff velocity. Subject-specific dependence on velocity encoding direction was observed. High temporal signal-to-noise ratios with high contrast on the perfusion images between the hyperintense regions and placental tissue were seen at ~1.6 cm/s cutoff velocity and ~1000 ms inflow time. Evaluation of measurements at multiple inflow times revealed differences in blood flow dynamics between placental regions. Conclusion: Placental perfusion measurements are feasible at 3T using VS-ASL with 2D multislice EPI-readout. A clear dependence of perfusion signal on VS labeling parameters and inflow time was demonstrated. Whereas multiple parameter combinations may advance the interpretation of placental circulation dynamics, this study provides a basis to select an effective set of parameters for the observation of placenta perfusion natural history and its potential pathological changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1828-1843
Number of pages16
JournalMagnetic Resonance in Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


  • arterial spin labeling (ASL)
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • perfusion
  • placental function
  • velocity-selective arterial spin labeling


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