Purpose: To evaluate the feasibility of aortic 4D flow magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 7T with improved spatial resolution using kt-GRAPPA acceleration while restricting acquisition time and to address radiofrequency (RF) excitation heterogeneities with B1+ shimming. Materials and Methods: 4D flow MRI data were obtained in the aorta of eight subjects using a 16-channel transmit/receive coil array at 7T. Flow quantification and acquisition time were compared for a kt-GRAPPA accelerated (R = 5) and a standard GRAPPA (R = 2) accelerated protocol. The impact of different dynamic B1+ shimming strategies on flow quantification was investigated. Two kt-GRAPPA accelerated protocols with 1.2 × 1.2 × 1.2 mm3 and 1.8 × 1.8 × 2.4 mm3 spatial resolution were compared. Results: Using kt-GRAPPA, we achieved a 4.3-fold reduction in net acquisition time resulting in scan times of about 10 minutes. No significant effect on flow quantification was observed compared to standard GRAPPA with R = 2. Optimizing the B1+ fields for the aorta impacted significantly (P < 0.05) the flow quantification while specific B1+ settings were required for respiration navigators. The high-resolution protocol yielded similar flow quantification, but allowed the depiction of branching vessels. Conclusion: 7T in combination with B1+ shimming allows for high-resolution 4D flow MRI acquisitions in the human aorta, while kt-GRAPPA limits total scan times without affecting flow quantification. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2016;44:486–499.
- 4D flow MRI
- human aorta