Purpose: Flow-based arterial spin labeling (ASL) techniques provide a transit-time insensitive alternative to the more conventional spatially selective ASL techniques. However, it is not clear which flow-based ASL technique performs best and also, how these techniques perform outside the brain (taking into account eg, flow-dynamics, field-inhomogeneity, and organ motion). In the current study we aimed to compare 4 flow-based ASL techniques (ie, velocity selective ASL, acceleration selective ASL, multiple velocity selective saturation ASL, and velocity selective inversion prepared ASL [VSI-ASL]) to the current spatially selective reference techniques in brain (ie, pseudo-continuous ASL [pCASL]) and kidney (ie, pCASL and flow alternating inversion recovery [FAIR]). Methods: Brain (n = 5) and kidney (n = 6) scans were performed in healthy subjects at 3T. Perfusion-weighted signal (PWS) maps were generated and ASL techniques were compared based on temporal SNR (tSNR), sensitivity to perfusion changes using a visual stimulus (brain) and robustness to respiratory motion by comparing scans acquired in paced-breathing and free-breathing (kidney). Results: In brain, all flow-based ASL techniques showed similar tSNR as pCASL, but only VSI-ASL showed similar sensitivity to perfusion changes. In kidney, all flow-based ASL techniques had comparable tSNR, although all lower than FAIR. In addition, VSI-ASL showed a sensitivity to B1-inhomogeneity. All ASL techniques were relatively robust to respiratory motion. Conclusion: In both brain and kidney, flow-based ASL techniques provide a planning-free and transit-time insensitive alternative to spatially selective ASL techniques. VSI-ASL shows the most potential overall, showing similar performance as the golden standard pCASL in brain. However, in kidney, a reduction of B1-sensitivity of VSI-ASL is necessary to match the performance of FAIR.
- arterial spin labeling
- perfusion imaging
- velocity selective ASL
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging