Determination of cardiac volumes and mass with FLASH and SSFP cine sequences at 1.5 vs. 3 Tesla: a validation study

Lucy E Hudsmith, Steffen E Petersen, Damian J Tyler, Jane M Francis, Adrian S H Cheng, Kieran Clarke, Joseph B Selvanayagam, Matthew D Robson, Stefan Neubauer
Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging: JMRI 2006, 24 (2): 312-8

PURPOSE: To compare cardiac cine MR imaging using steady state free precession (SSFP) and fast low angle shot (FLASH) techniques at 1.5 and 3 T, and to establish their variabilities and reproducibilities for cardiac volume and mass determination in volunteers. To assess the feasibility of SSFP imaging in patients at 3 T and to determine comparability to volume data acquired at 1.5 T.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Ten healthy volunteers underwent cardiac magnetic resonance imaging using SSFP and segmented gradient-echo FLASH, using both a 1.5 and a 3 T MR system on the same day. Ten patients with impaired left ventricular (LV) function were also studied at both field strengths with SSFP.

RESULTS: For both SSFP and FLASH, field strength had no effect on the quantification of LV and right ventricular (RV) volumes, mass, or function (P > or = 0.05 for field strength for all parameters). At both 1.5 and 3 T, SSFP yielded smaller LV mass (e.g., at 3 T 109 +/- 30 g vs. 142 +/- 37 g; P = 0.011) and larger LV volume (e.g., at 3 T end-diastolic volume 149 +/- 37 mL vs. 133 +/- 31 mL at 5 T; P = 0.041) measurements than FLASH. In patients with reduced LV function, all volume and mass measurements were again similar for SSFP sequences at 1.5 vs. 3 T. In volunteers and patients, measurement variabilities for LV parameters were small for both field strength and sequences, ranging between 3.7% and 10.7% for mass.

CONCLUSION: Compared to 1.5 T, cardiac cine MR imaging at 3 T, using either FLASH or SSFP sequences, is feasible and highly reproducible. Field strength does not have an influence on quantification of cardiac volume or mass, but the systematic overestimation of LV mass and underestimation of LV volume by FLASH compared to SSFP is present at both 1.5 and 3 T. Normal values for cardiac volumes and mass established at 1.5 T can be applied to scans obtained at 3 T.

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