PD-T2-Shuffled Volumetric ISotropic Turbo spin echo Acquisition (VISTA) for 3D Simultaneous Multi-contrast Intracranial Vessel Wall Imaging
Shuo Chen1, Zechen Zhou2, Haikun Qi1, Chun Yuan1,3, and Rui Li1

1Center for Biomedical Imaging Research, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, 2Philips Research North America, Cambridge, MA, United States, 3Vascular Imaging Lab, Department of Radiology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, United States


The aim of this study was to develop a PD-T2-shuffled VISTA technique, which can provide co-registered 3D high multi-contrast intracranial vessel wall images with high scan efficiency. Phantom study and healthy volunteers study were performed to validate the feasibility of the proposed method. The results showed that middle cerebral artery vessel wall was clearly depicted on different weighed images of PD-T2-shuffled VISTA.


Intracranial arterial stenosis, resulting from atherosclerosis, vasculitis, thrombosis and other reasons, is one of the major causes of ischemic stroke [1]. Recently, three-dimensional variable flip angle turbo spin echo (TSE) techniques, such as VISTA (Volumetric Isotropic TSE Acquisition; Philips Healthcare) [2], SPACE (Sampling Perfection with Application optimized Contrasts by using different flip angle Evolutions; Siemens Healthcare) [3] and CUBE (GE Healthcare) [4], emerged as the mainstream technique for intracranial vessel wall imaging (IVWI). Although multi-contrast IVWI showed its power in plaque vasculitis discrimination [5] and plaque composition detection [6], the application of multi-contrast IVWI is limited by its long scan time (>20 minutes [5]) and potential intra/inter-scan motion.

In this study, we aim to propose a PD-T2-shuffled VISTA technique, which can provide co-registered 3D high resolution multi-contrast intracranial vessel wall images with high scan efficiency.


Pulse sequence:

The VISTA sequence with variable refocusing flip angle was previously optimized for intracranial vessel wall imaging (Figure 1) [2]. To facilitate multiple contrast imaging, the profile order of proton density weighted VISTA sequence was rearranged (Figure 2a,b). In this work, an echo train was split into 4 segments to generated 4 separated K-spaces (KSP1, KSP2, KSP3, KSP4) with different echo times (TE1, TE2, TE3, TE4). Moreover, sparse sampling with CUSTOM [7] was used to speed up the acquisition. As image contrast was mainly determined by K-space center, center K-space lines of of KSP2, KSP3 and KSP4 were acquired more frequently than outer K-space lines. The acceleration factors of KSP1, KSP2, KSP3 and KSP4 were 3, 8, 8 and 12, respectively.

Image reconstruction:

KSP1 with TE1 was reconstructed directly with 3D SPIRiT [8]. A view-sharing technique was first applied to KSP2, KSP3 and KSP4 followed by 3D SPIRiT reconstruction.

MR Imaging:

To validate the feasibility of PD-T2-shuffled VISTA, a set of tube phantoms with different T1 values and T2 values was scanned. Also, two healthy volunteers was scanned with the following parameters: TR 1800 ms, effective TE 30/137.5/245/352.5 ms, echo spacing 4.3 ms, echo train length 84, startup echoes 4, resolution 0.6*0.6 *0.6mm3, scan time 7min08s.


Figure 3 shows the phantom study result. Signal change due to T2 decay can be observed in images with different TEs (Figure 3 A-D). Figure 4 shows one invivo result. The vessel wall of middle cerebral artery was clearly depicted in all images (yellow arrow). The contrast between white matter, gray matter and cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) varied between images with different TEs (Figure 4 A-D).

Discussion and conclusion

This study demonstrated that PD-T2-shuffled VISTA is a feasible and promising technique for 3D simultaneous multi-contrast intracranial vessel wall imaging. The multiple weighted images could provide more information for plaque components detection and vasculopathy differentiation, which would be investigated in the future.


No acknowledgement found.


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Figure 1. A, Sequence diagram of 3D VISTA sequence. B, Variable refocusing flip angle of 3D VISTA. C, Simulated signal evolutions during an echo train.

Figure 2. Profile order of PD VISTA was rearranged to realize PD-T2-shuffled VISTA. A, each echo train was split in two 4 segments for 4 separated K-spaces (KSP1, low-high order, R=3 [black dots]; KSP2, low-high order, R=8 [blue dots]; KSP3, low-high order, R=8 [green dots]; KSP4, high-low order R=12 [red dots]). B, sampling pattern of an echo train. C, CUSTOM sampling patterns of different K-spaces.

Figure 3. Phantom study results. Different contrast between tubes can be observed in images with different TE due to T2 decay.

Figure 4. Images of one healthy volunteer. The vessel wall of middle cerebral artery was clearly depicted in all images (yellow arrow). The contrast between white matter, gray matter and cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) varied between images with different TEs.

Proc. Intl. Soc. Mag. Reson. Med. 26 (2018)