Multi-band echo planar imaging (MB-EPI), a new approach to increase data acquisition efficiency and/or temporal resolution, has the potential to overcome critical limitations of standard acquisition strategies for obtaining high-resolution whole brain perfusion imaging using arterial spin labeling (ASL). However, the use of MB also introduces confounding effects, such as spatially varying amplified thermal noise and leakage contamination, which have not been evaluated to date as to their effect on cerebral blood flow (CBF) estimation. In this study, both the potential benefits and confounding effects of MB-EPI were systematically evaluated through both simulation and experimentally using a pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling (pCASL) strategy. These studies revealed that the amplified noise, given by the geometry factor (g-factor), and the leakage contamination, assessed by the total leakage factor (TLF), have a minimal impact on CBF estimation. Furthermore, it is demonstrated that MB-EPI greatly benefits high-resolution whole brain pCASL studies in terms of improved spatial and temporal signal-to-noise ratio efficiencies, and increases compliance with the assumptions of the commonly used single blood compartment model, resulting in improved CBF estimates.
- Arterial spin labeling (ASL)
- Cerebral blood flow (CBF)
- Leakage evaluation via acquired dummy slices (LEADS)
- Multi-band echo planar imaging (MB-EPI)
- Pseudo-continuous arterial spin labeling (pCASL)
- Total leakage factor (TLF)