Rapid dark-blood carotid vessel-wall imaging with random bipolar gradients in a radial SSFP acquisition

Hung Yu Lin, Chris A. Flask, Brian M. Dale, Jeffrey L. Duerk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Purpose: To investigate and evaluate a new rapid dark-blood vessel-wall imaging method using random bipolar gradients with a radial steady-state free precession (SSFP) acquisition in carotid applications. Materials and Methods: The carotid artery bifurcations of four asymptomatic volunteers (28-37 years old, mean age = 31 years) were included in this study. Dark-blood contrast was achieved through the use of random bipolar gradients applied prior to the signal acquisition of each radial projection in a balanced SSFP acquisition. The resulting phase variation for moving spins established significant destructive interference in the low-frequency region of k-space. This phase variation resulted in a net nulling of the signal from flowing spins, while the bipolar gradients had a minimal effect on the static spins. The net effect was that the regular SSFP signal amplitude (SA) in stationary tissues was preserved while dark-blood contrast was achieved for moving spins. In this implementation, application of the random bipolar gradient pulses along all three spatial directions nulled the signal from both in-plane and through-plane flow in phantom and in vivo studies. Results: In vivo imaging trials confirmed that dark-blood contrast can be achieved with the radial random bipolar SSFP method, thereby substantially reversing the vessel-to-lumen contrast-to-noise ratio (CNR) of a conventional rectilinear SSFP "bright-blood" acquisition from bright blood to dark blood with only a modest increase in TR (∼4 msec) to accommodate the additional bipolar gradients. Conclusion: Overall, this sequence offers a simple and effective dark-blood contiast mechanism for high-SNR SSFP acquisitions in vessel wall imaging within a short acquisition time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1299-1304
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Black blood
  • Dark-blood imaging
  • Flow suppression
  • SSFP
  • Vessel-wall imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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