Niranjan Balu1, Vasily Yarnykh1, William Kerwin1, Jinnan Wang2, Chun Yuan1
A new 3D black-blood sequence, 3D-MERGE, has been recently proposed for fast isotropic high-resolution plaque imaging of the vessel wall and validated for the assessment of plaque morphology. However, contrast properties of this 3D technique have not been established limiting its application in studies of plaque composition. 3D-MERGE combines motion-sensitized driven equilibrium (MSDE) preparation with non-steady-state FLASH-type readout, which makes interpretation and management of tissue contrast for this technique a rather complex problem. In this study, we characterize contrast properties of 3D-MERGE and demonstrate its usefulness for in vivo identification of intraplaque hemorrhage.