Simultaneous dual contrast weighting using double echo rapid acquisition with relaxation enhancement (RARE) imaging


  • K. Fuchs
  • F. Hezel
  • S. Klix
  • R. Mekle
  • J. Wuerfel
  • T. Niendorf


  • Magnetic Resonance in Medicine


  • Magn Reson Med 72 (6): 1590-1598


  • PURPOSE: This work proposes a dual contrast rapid acquisition with relaxation enhancement (RARE) variant (2in1-RARE), which provides simultaneous proton density (PD) and T2 * contrast in a single acquisition. THEORY AND METHODS: The underlying concept of 2in1-RARE is the strict separation of spin echoes and stimulated echoes. This approach offers independent weighting of spin echoes and stimulated echoes. 2in1-RARE was evaluated in phantoms including signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and point spread function assessment. 2in1-RARE was benchmarked versus coherent RARE and a split-echo RARE variant. The applicability of 2in1-RARE for brain imaging was demonstrated in a small cohort of healthy subjects (n = 10) and, exemplary, a multiple sclerosis patient at 3 Tesla as a precursor to a broader clinical study. RESULTS: 2in1-RARE enables the simultaneous acquisition of dual contrast weighted images without any significant image degradation and without sacrificing SNR versus split-echo RARE. This translates into a factor of two speed gain over multi-contrast, sequential split-echo RARE. A 15% broadening of the point spread function was observed in 2in1-RARE. T1 relaxation effects during the mixing time can be neglected for brain tissue. CONCLUSION: 2in1-RARE offers simultaneous acquisition of images of anatomical (PD) and functional (T2 *) contrast. It presents an alternative to address scan time constraints frequently encountered during sequential acquisition of T2 * or PD-weighted RARE.