A novel T*(2)-weighted contrast-preparation scheme is described for use with segmented k-space cardiac sequences. This approach,frees the imaging phase from the requirement of a long TE and, hence, a relatively long TR. A [90degrees(x)-tau-90degrees(rho)] preparation scheme is used to acquire four image,data sets with the phase rho of the second pulse set to x, y, -x, and -y. The rho = x raw data is subtracted from the x data to form the “x” image, with a similar subtraction to generate the “y” image. These images are added in quadrature to obtain the T*(2)-weighted image. The method results in reduced artifact compared to a simple two-image scheme with rho = x, and y. T*(2) was measured in the myocardial septum in six normal volunteers by comparing T = 7 and 28 ms images, and it was found to be 44 +/- 5 ms at 0.95 T. (C) 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.