A study was undertaken to assess the use of excitation flip angles greater than 90° for T1 weighted spin-echo (SE) imaging with a single 180° refocusing pulse and short TR values. Theoretical predictions of signal intensity for SE images with excitation pulse angles of 90-180° were calculated based on the Bloch equations and then measured experimentally from MR images of MnCl2 phantoms of various concentrations. Liver signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) and liver-spleen contrast-to-noise ratios (CNR) were measured from breathhold MR images of the upper abdomen in 16 patients using 90 and 110° excitation flip angles. The theoretical predictions showed significant improvements in SNR with excitation flip angles >90°, which were more pronounced at small TR values. The phantom studies showed reasonably good agreement with the theoretical predictions in correlating the excitation pulse angle with signal intensity. In the human imaging studies, the 110° excitation pulse angle resulted in a 7.4% (p < .01) increase in liver SNR and an 8.2% (p = .2) increase in liver-spleen CNR compared to the 90° pulse angle at TR = 275 ms. Increased signal intensity resulting from the use of large flip angle excitation pulses with a single echo SE pulse sequence was predicted and confirmed experimentally in phantoms and humans.
- Liver MR
- Magnetic resonance (MR) pulse sequences
- Magnetic resonance (MR) rapid imaging