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pCASL for highly sensitive non-contrast brain perfusion

White Paper
van de Ven, Kim, Ph.D. Philips Healthcare • Netherlands

pCASL (Pseudo-Continuous Arterial Spin Labeling) is designed to provide high performance brain perfusion imaging at 1.5T and 3.0T without using contrast agent. It uses Arterial Spin Labeling (ASL, a subtraction technique) and may be used, for instance, in vascular and oncology exams in the brain. pCASL aims to be an alternative with better SNR – roughly 50% higher – than the pulsed ASL method used before.

Pulsed Arterial Spin Labeling – STAR

In the pulsed ASL method STAR, a slab is inverted before image acquisition to label blood over a short period of time and create the perfusion contrast in the brain. In the control situation no inversion is used. Subtraction of images with and without label yields perfusion images.

First a prepulse inverts (labels) the arterial blood in a large volume (left picture).
Then a delay time is allowed to let blood flow to brain.
Finally, readout is done when the labeled blood is in brain (right picture).

Subtraction of images with and without label yields perfusion images.

Different labeling in pCASL

pCASL is a pseudo-continuous ASL technique where blood is inverted for a longer period of time. This allows efficient inversion of the blood leading to increased SNR in the perfusion images. A train of short and discrete RF pulses to invert the arterial blood is applied in a thin slab. This is followed by a fast readout covering the entire brain.

Advantages of pCASL

When comparing STAR and pCASL side by side, the higher SNR and the ability of pCASL to better visualize gray matter perfusion are evident.
Furthermore, pCASL’s high SNR allows to use isotropic resolution, which enables multiplanar reformatting. Color-based relative quantification of pCASL is available on the console and on IntelliSpace Portal.

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Oct 8, 2013

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White Paper
Ingenia 1.5T, Ingenia 3.0T
Release 4.1.3
arterial spin labeling, ASL, Brain, Neuro, non-contrast, pCASL, Perfusion, STAR

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