Echo-planar imaging: magnetic resonance imaging in a fraction of a second

Science  04 Oct 1991:
Vol. 254, Issue 5028, pp. 43-50
DOI: 10.1126/science.1925560


Progress has recently been made in implementing magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques that can be used to obtain images in a fraction of a second rather than in minutes. Echo-planar imaging (EPI) uses only one nuclear spin excitation per image and lends itself to a variety of critical medical and scientific applications. Among these are evaluation of cardiac function in real time, mapping of water diffusion and temperature in tissue, mapping of organ blood pool and perfusion, functional imaging of the central nervous system, depiction of blood and cerebrospinal fluid flow dynamics, and movie imaging of the mobile fetus in utero. Through shortened patient examination times, higher patient throughput, and lower cost per MRI examination, EPI may become a powerful tool for early diagnosis of some common and potentially treatable diseases such as ischemic heart disease, stroke, and cancer.