Arterial spin labeling offers great potential in clinical applications for noninvasive measurement of cerebral blood flow. Arterial spin labeling tagging methods such as the flow sensitive alternating inversion recovery technique require efficient spatial inversion pulses with high inversion accuracy and sharp transition zones between inverted and noninverted magnetization, i.e., require a high performance inversion pulse. This work presents a comprehensive comparison of the advantages offered by a variable-rate selective excitation variant of the hyperbolic secant pulse against the widely used conventional hyperbolic secant pulse and the frequency offset corrected inversion pulses. Pulses were compared using simulation and experimental measurement in phantoms before being used in a flow sensitive alternating inversion recovery-arterial spin labeling perfusion measurement in normal volunteers. Both the hyperbolic secant and frequency offset corrected inversion pulses have small variations in inversion profiles that may lead to unwanted subtraction errors in arterial spin labeling at a level where the residual signal is comparable to the desired perfusion contrast. The variable-rate selective excitation pulse is shown to have improved inversion efficiency indicating its potential in perfusion MRI. The variable-rate selective excitation pulse variant also showed greatest tolerance to radiofrequency variation and off-resonance conditions, making it a robust choice for in vivo arterial spin labeling measurement.
- RF pulses
- adiabatic pulse
- pulsed arterial spin labeling
- gradient modulation