Phase Contrast PC Technique

4D PC technique was demonstrated for its feasibility that permits spatial and temporal coverage of an entire 3D volume [26]. It validated quantitatively the accuracy against an established time resolved 2D PC technique to explore advantages of the approach with regard to the 4D nature of the data. Time-resolved, 3D anatomical images were generated simultaneously with registered three-directional velocity vector fields. Improvements were compared to prior methods for gated and respiratory compensated image acquisition, interleaved flow encoding with freely selectable velocity encoding (VENC) along each spatial direction, and flexible trade-off between temporal resolution and total acquisition time. The implementation was validated against established 2D PC techniques using a well-defined phantom, and successfully applied in volunteer and patient examinations. Human studies were performed after contrast administration in order to compensate for loss of in-flow enhancement in the 4D approach. Advantages of the 4D approach included the complete spatial and temporal coverage of the cardiovascular region of interest and the ability to obtain high spatial resolution in all three dimensions with higher signal-to-noise ratio compared to 2D methods at the same resolution. In addition, the 4D nature of the data offered a variety of image processing options, such as magnitude and velocity multi-planar reformation, 3D vector field plots, and velocity profiles mapped onto selected planes of interest.

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