PURPOSE: The combination of 3D echo planar imaging (3D-EPI) with a 2D-CAIPIRINHA undersampling scheme provides high flexibility in the optimization for spatial or temporal resolution. This flexibility can be increased further with the addition of a cylindrical excitation pulse, which exclusively excites the brain regions of interest. Here, 3D-EPI was combined with a 2D radiofrequency pulse to reduce the brain area from which signal is generated, and hence, allowing either reduction of the field of view or reduction of parallel imaging noise amplification.
METHODS: 3D-EPI with cylindrical excitation and 4 × 3-fold undersampling in a 2D-CAIPIRINHA sampling scheme was used to generate functional MRI (fMRI) data with either 2-mm or 0.9-mm in-plane resolution and 1.1-s temporal resolution over a 5-cm diameter cylinder placed over both temporal lobes for an auditory fMRI experiment.
RESULTS: Significant increases in image signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and temporal SNR (tSNR) were found for both 2-mm isotropic data and the high-resolution protocol when using the cylindrical excitation pulse. Both protocols yielded highly significant blood oxygenation level-dependent responses for the presentation of natural sounds.
CONCLUSION: The higher tSNR of the cylindrical excitation 3D-EPI data makes this sequence an ideal choice for high spatiotemporal resolution fMRI acquisitions. Magn Reson Med, 2017. © 2017 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.