Background: Emerging quantitative cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMRI) techniques use cine balanced steady-state free precession (bSSFP) to measure myocardial signal intensity and probe underlying physiological parameters. This correlation assumes that steady-state is maintained uniformly throughout the heart in space and time.

Purpose: To determine the effects of longitudinal cardiac motion and initial slice position on signal deviation in cine bSSFP imaging by comparing two-dimensional (2D) and three-dimensional (3D) acquisitions.

Material and Methods: Nine healthy volunteers completed cardiac MRI on a 1.5-T scanner. Short axis images were taken at six slice locations using both 2D and 3D cine bSSFP. 3D acquisitions spanned two slices above and below selected slice locations. Changes in myocardial signal intensity were measured across the cardiac cycle and compared to longitudinal shortening.

Results: For 2D cine bSSFP, 46% ± 9% of all frames and 84% ± 13% of end-diastolic frames remained within 10% of initial signal intensity. For 3D cine bSSFP the proportions increased to 87% ± 8% and 97% ± 5%. There was no correlation between longitudinal shortening and peak changes in myocardial signal. The initial slice position significantly impacted peak changes in signal intensity for 2D sequences (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: The initial longitudinal slice location significantly impacts the magnitude of deviation from steady-state in 2D cine bSSFP that is only restored at the center of a 3D excitation volume. During diastole, a transient steady-state is established similar to that achieved with 3D cine bSSFP regardless of slice location.

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Published in Acta Radiologica Open, v. 6, issue 11, p. 1-9.

© The Foundation Acta Radiologica 2017

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The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work is funded by NIH R01 HL128592-02.