In thorax and abdomen imaging, image quality may be affected by breathing motion. Cardiac MR images are typically obtained while the patient holds his or her breath, to avoid respiration-related artifacts. Although useful, breath-holding imposes constraints on scan duration, which in turn limits the achievable resolution and SNR. Longer scan times would be required to improve image quality, and effective strategies are needed to compensate for respiratory motion. A novel approach at respiratory compensation, targeted toward 3D free-breathing cardiac MRI, is presented here. The method aims at suppressing the negative effects of respiratory-induced cardiac motion while capturing the heart’s beating motion. The method is designed so that the acquired data can be reconstructed in two different ways: First, a time series of images is reconstructed to quantify and correct for respiratory motion. Then, the corrected data are reconstructed a final time into a cardiacphase series of images to capture the heart’s beating motion. The method was implemented, and initial results are presented. A cardiac-phase series of 3D images, covering the entire heart, was obtained for two free-breathing volunteers. The present method may prove especially useful in situations where breath-holding is not an option, for example, for very sick, mentally impaired or infant patients
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