How long should breath-holds be for MRI of the chest and abdomen?

Hi everyone,

I was wondering if people could provide advice on breath-hold MRI when imaging the abdomen or chest. We are setting up a protocol with breath-holds of 20-25 seconds. It would be great if you could me know your experience and thoughts on the questions below.

What is the maximum length of a breath-hold reliably tolerated by most subjects to get high quality images?

Is it preferable to image during breath-hold after exhaling or inhaling?

My personal experience is that anything above 10s is asking too much from the patient specially if they have some sort of pathology.

Imaging after exhaling seems to allow the most consistency between different Breath-holds.


Hi everyone
Sorry for commenting so late but, I just have joined this community. So, to bring matters in the right track, in my opinion breath hold times are depended on averaging and usually are near 15 sec to 20 sec depending the acquisition measurement. Most of the manufacturers are emphasizing in image quality and not in real life patient situations, for example not very cooperative patients’ due trauma or phobia related issues. Small alterations can be applied like less averaging, if we have let’s say 3 averages, we might think to lower them to 2, or small reductions in the phase oversampling ratio%, or a more advanced manipulation of the image resolution matrix, from 512 to 320 or 256 of course this will potentially degrade our image quality. Hope this makes sense.


Thanks @RuiPedroTeixeira and @johnplagos.

We’re actually trying to optimise for imaging the Liver. I found the following useful information that is well worth a look.

RSNA document with advice on reducing breath-hold artifacts on abdominal MRI:

Paper recommending imaging at end of exhale to reduce motion artifacts, published by Stanford researchers.

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