Purpose: To investigate and mitigate the influence of physiological and acquisition-related parameters on myocardial blood flow (MBF) measurements obtained with myocardial Arterial Spin Labeling (myoASL). Methods: A Flow-sensitive Alternating Inversion Recovery (FAIR) myoASL sequence with bSSFP and spoiled GRE (spGRE) readout is investigated for MBF quantification. Bloch-equation simulations and phantom experiments were performed to evaluate how variations in acquisition flip angle (FA), acquisition matrix size (AMS), heart rate (HR) and blood (Formula presented.) relaxation time ((Formula presented.)) affect quantification of myoASL-MBF. In vivo myoASL-images were acquired in nine healthy subjects. A corrected MBF quantification approach was proposed based on subject-specific (Formula presented.) values and, for spGRE imaging, subtracting an additional saturation-prepared baseline from the original baseline signal. Results: Simulated and phantom experiments showed a strong dependence on AMS and FA ((Formula presented.) >0.73), which was eliminated in simulations and alleviated in phantom experiments using the proposed saturation-baseline correction in spGRE. Only a very mild HR dependence ((Formula presented.) >0.59) was observed which was reduced when calculating MBF with individual (Formula presented.). For corrected spGRE, in vivo mean global spGRE-MBF ranged from 0.54 to 2.59 mL/g/min and was in agreement with previously reported values. Compared to uncorrected spGRE, the intra-subject variability within a measurement (0.60 mL/g/min), between measurements (0.45 mL/g/min), as well as the inter-subject variability (1.29 mL/g/min) were improved by up to 40% and were comparable with conventional bSSFP. Conclusion: Our results show that physiological and acquisition-related factors can lead to spurious changes in myoASL-MBF if not accounted for. Using individual (Formula presented.) and a saturation-baseline can reduce these variations in spGRE and improve reproducibility of FAIR-myoASL against acquisition parameters.
- cardiac arterial spin labeling
- cardiac magnetic resonance imaging
- flow-sensitive alternating inversion recovery
- myocardial blood flow