Multiple gradient echo propeller (MGREP) MRI: Technical development and potential applications

Aziz Hatim Poonawalla, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The PROPELLER (Periodically Rotated Overlapping Parallel Lines with Enhanced Reconstruction) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique has inherent advantages over other fast imaging methods, including robust motion correction, reduced image distortion, and resistance to off-resonance effects. These features make PROPELLER highly desirable for T2*-sensitive imaging, high-resolution diffusion imaging, and many other applications. However, PROPELLER has been predominantly implemented as a fast spin-echo (FSE) technique, which is insensitive to T2* contrast, and requires time-inefficient signal averaging to achieve adequate signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) for many applications. These issues presently constrain the potential clinical utility of FSE-based PROPELLER. In this research, our aim was to extend and enhance the potential applications of PROPELLER MRI by developing a novel multiple gradient echo PROPELLER (MGREP) technique that can overcome the aforementioned limitations. The MGREP pulse sequence was designed to acquire multiple gradient-echo images simultaneously, without any increase in total scan time or RF energy deposition relative to FSE-based PROPELLER. A new parameter was also introduced for direct user-control over gradient echo spacing, to allow variable sensitivity to T2* contrast. In parallel to pulse sequence development, an improved algorithm for motion correction was also developed and evaluated against the established method through extensive simulations. The potential advantages of MGREP over FSE-based PROPELLER were illustrated via three specific applications: (1) quantitative T2* measurement, (2) time-efficient signal averaging, and (3) high-resolution diffusion imaging. Relative to the FSE-PROPELLER method, the MGREP sequence was found to yield quantitative T2* values, increase SNR by ∼40% without any increase in acquisition time or RF energy deposition, and noticeably improve image quality in high-resolution diffusion maps. In addition, the new motion algorithm was found to improve the performance considerably in motion-artifact reduction. Overall, this work demonstrated a number of enhancements and extensions to existing PROPELLER techniques. The new technical capabilities of PROPELLER imaging, developed in this thesis research, are expected to serve as the foundation for further expanding the scope of PROPELLER applications.

Subject Area

Biophysics|Physics|Biomedical research

Recommended Citation

Poonawalla, Aziz Hatim, "Multiple gradient echo propeller (MGREP) MRI: Technical development and potential applications" (2005). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI3168445.