Indexed on: 15 Feb '12Published on: 15 Feb '12Published in: Journal of Magnetic Resonance
We describe the first study comparing the ability of phase shift velocity imaging and Overhauser dynamic nuclear polarization (DNP)-enhanced imaging to generate contrast for visualizing the flow of water. Prepolarization of water by the Overhauser DNP mechanism is performed in the 0.35T fringe field of an unshielded 2.0T non-clinical MRI magnet, followed by the rapid transfer of polarization-enhanced water to the 2.0T imaging location. This technique, previously named remotely enhanced liquids for image contrast (RELIC), produces a continuous flow of hyperpolarized water and gives up to an -8.2-fold enhanced signal within the image with respect to thermally polarized signal at 2.0T. Using flow through a cylindrical expansion phantom as a model system, spin-echo intensity images with DNP are compared to 3D phase shift velocity images to illustrate the complementary information available from the two techniques. The spin-echo intensity images enhanced with DNP show that the levels of enhancement provide an estimate of the transient propagation of flow, while the phase shift velocity images quantitatively measure the velocity of each imaging voxel. Phase shift velocity images acquired with and without DNP show that DNP weights velocity values towards those of the inflowing (DNP-enhanced) water, while velocity images without DNP more accurately reflect the average steady-state velocity of each voxel. We conclude that imaging with DNP prepolarized water better captures the transient path of water shortly after injection, while phase shift velocity imaging is best for quantifying the steady-state flow of water throughout the entire phantom.