Refocused steady-state free precession (SSFP) imaging sequences have recently regained popularity as faster gradient hardware has allowed shorter repetition times, thereby reducing SSFP's sensitivity to off-resonance effects. Although these sequences offer fast scanning with good signal-to-noise efficiency, the "transient response," or time taken to reach a steady-state, can be long compared with the total imaging time, particularly when using 2D sequences. This results in lost imaging time and has made SSFP difficult to use for real-time and cardiac-gated applications. A linear-systems analysis of the steady-state and transient response for general periodic sequences is shown. The analysis is applied to refocused-SSFP sequences to generate a two-stage method of "catalyzing," or speeding up the progression to steady-state by first scaling, then directing the magnetization. This catalyzing method is compared with previous methods in simulations and experimentally. Although the second stage of the method exhibits some sensitivity to B(1) variations, our results show that the transient time can be significantly reduced, allowing imaging in a shorter total scan time. Magn Reson Med 46:149-158, 2001.
View details for Web of Science ID 000169561000019
View details for PubMedID 11443721