Multi-organ comparison of flow-based arterial spin labeling techniques: Spatially non-selective labeling for cerebral and renal perfusion imaging

Suzanne L. Franklin, Isabell K. Bones, Anita A. Harteveld, Lydiane Hirschler, Marijn van Stralen, Qin Qin, Anneloes de Boer, Johannes M. Hoogduin, Clemens Bos, Matthias J.P. van Osch, Sophie Schmid

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2580-2594
Number of pages15
JournalMagnetic resonance in medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2021


  • arterial spin labeling
  • brain
  • kidney
  • perfusion imaging
  • velocity selective ASL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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