Rapid Geometry-Corrected Echo-Planar Diffusion Imaging at Ultrahigh Field: Fusing View Angle Tilting and Point-Spread Function Mapping
Severe geometric distortions induced by tissue susceptibility, water–fat chemical shift, and eddy currents pose a substantial obstacle in single-shot EPI, especially for high-resolution imaging at ultrahigh field. View angle tilting (VAT)-EPI can mitigate in-plane distortion. However, the accompanied strong image blurring prevented its widespread applications. On the other hand, point-spread function mapping (PSF)-EPI can correct distortion and blurring accurately but requires prolonged scan time. We present fused VAT-PSF-EPI and possibilities for acceleration.
MR signal equations were explicitly derived to quantify image blurring in VAT-EPI and the maximum acceleration capacity in VAT-PSF-EPI. To validate the theoretical prediction, phantom measurements with varying in-plane parallel imaging factors, slice thicknesses, and RF pulses were conducted at 7 Tesla. In addition, in vivo human brain scans were acquired with T2 and diffusion weighting to assess distortion and blurring correction.
VAT can effectively suppress distortion, and the introduced image blurring is corrected through PSF encoding. Up to fourfold acceleration (only 5 shots) in VAT-PSF-EPI was achieved compared with standard PSF-EPI without VAT. VAT-induced signal loss was mitigated by adjusting the sequence parameters and EPI resolution. In vivo T2-weighted EPI data with 1.4 mm3 resolution demonstrate immunity to water–fat chemical shift-induced distortion. Very high-spatial resolution diffusion-weighted EPI (0.7 × 0.7 × 2.8 mm3 and 1.2 mm3) demonstrates the immunity to eddy current-induced distortion.
VAT-PSF-EPI is a novel spin-echo EPI-based sequence for fast high-resolution diffusion imaging at ultrahigh field.