To investigate the use of 3D EPI for rapid T -weighted brain imaging, focusing on the RF pulse’s influence on the contrast between gray and white matter.
An interleaved 3D EPI sequence use partial Fourier and CAIPIRINHA sampling was used to acquire T -weighted brain volumes with isotropic resolution, low echo times, and low geometric distortions. Five different RF pulses were evaluated in terms of fat suppression performance and gray-white matter contrast. Two binomial RF pulses were compared to a single rectangular (WE-rect) RF pulse exciting only water, and two new RF pulses developed in this work, where one was an extension of the WE-rect, and the other was an SLR pulse. The technique was demonstrated in three clinical cases, where brain tumor patients were imaged before and after gadolinium administration.
A fat-suppressed 3D EPI sequence with a phase encoding bandwidth of around 100 Hz was found to exhibit a good trade-off between geometrical distortions and scan duration. Whole-brain T -weighted 3D EPI images with 1.2 mm isotropic voxel size could be acquired in 24 seconds. The WE-rect, its extension, and the SLR RF pulses resulted in reduced magnetization transfer effects and provided a 20% mean increase in gray-white matter contrast.
Using a high phase encoding bandwidth and RF pulses that reduce magnetization transfer effects, a fat-suppressed multi-shot 3D EPI sequence can be used to rapidly acquire isotropic T -weighted volumes.

© 2020 The Authors. Magnetic Resonance in Medicine published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.