BackgroundTimely diagnosis of cardiac iron overload is important for children with transfusion-dependent anaemias and requires modern measure methods. Nowadays, myocardial iron quantification is performed by magnetic resonance (MR) breath-hold techniques, sensitive to respiratory motion and unfeasible in patients who are unable to hold their breath. Free-breathing T2* mapping sequences would allow to scan children who cannot hold their breath for a specified duration. Our aim was to test a free-breathing T2* mapping sequence, based on motion correction by multiple signal accumulation technique.MethodsWe used an electrocardiographically gated T2* mapping sequence based on multiple gradient echo at 3-T in 37 paediatric patients with haematologic disorders aged from 2 to 16. We compared T2* values of myocardium and signal-to-noise ratio of this new sequence with standard breath-holding T2* mapping sequence. T2* values were measured in the interventricular septum for both methods in studies with adequate image quality.ResultsAll children were scanned without complications. Five patients were excluded from analysis because of the presence of respiratory artefacts on the T2* images with breath-holding technique due to patient’s inability to hold their breath. Breath-holding T2* was 19.5 ± 7.7 ms (mean ± standard deviation), free-breathing T2* was 19.4 ± 7.6 ms, with positive correlation (r = 0.99, R2 = 0.98; p < 0.001). The free-breathing sequence had a higher signal-to-noise ratio (median 212.8, interquartile range 148.5–566.5) than the breath-holding sequence (112.6, 71.1–334.1) (p = 0.03).ConclusionA free-breathing sequence provided accurate measurement of myocardial T2* values in children.