The specific absorption rate (SAR) is a limiting constraint in sequence design for high-field MRI. SAR estimation is typically performed by numerical simulations using generic human body models. This entails an intrinsic uncertainty in present SAR prediction. This study first investigates the required detail of human body models in terms of spatial resolution and the number of soft tissue classes required, based on finite-differences time-domain simulations of a 3 T body coil. The numerical results indicate that a resolution of 5 mm is sufficient for local SAR estimation. Moreover, a differentiation between fatty tissues, water-rich tissues, and the lungs was found to be essential to represent eddy current paths inside the human body. This study then proposes a novel approach for generating individualized body models from whole-body water-fat-separated MR data and applies it to volunteers. The SAR hotspots consistently occurred in the arms due to proximity to the body coil as well as in narrow regions of the muscles. An initial in vivo validation of the simulated fields in comparison with measured B(1) -field maps showed good qualitative and quantitative agreement. Magn Reson Med, 2011. (c) 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
OBJECT: Parallel transmission facilitates a relatively direct control of the RF transmit field. This is usually applied to improve the RF field homogeneity but might also allow a reduction of the specific absorption rate (SAR) to increase freedom in sequence design for high-field MRI. However, predicting the local SAR is challenging as it depends not only on the multi-channel drive but also on the individual patient. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The potential of RF shimming for SAR management is investigated for a 3 T body coil with eight independent transmit elements, based on Finite-Difference Time-Domain (FDTD) simulations. To address the patient-dependency of the SAR, nine human body models were generated from volunteer MR data and used in the simulations. A novel approach to RF shimming that enforces local SAR constraints is proposed. RESULTS: RF shimming substantially reduced the local SAR, consistently for all volunteers. Using SAR constraints, a further SAR reduction could be achieved with only minor compromises in RF performance. CONCLUSION: Parallel transmission can become an important tool to control and manage the local SAR in the human body. The practical use of local SAR constraints is feasible with consistent results for a variety of body models.
The specific absorption rate (SAR) is an important safety criterion, limiting many MR protocols with respect to the achievable contrast and scan duration. Parallel transmission enables control of the radiofrequency field in space and time and hence allows for SAR management. However, a trade-off exists between radiofrequency pulse performance and SAR reduction. To overcome this problem, in this work, parallel transmit radiofrequency pulses are adapted to the position in sampling k-space. In the central k-space, highly homogeneous but SAR-intensive radiofrequency shim settings are used to achieve optimal performance and contrast. In the outer k-space, the homogeneity requirement is relaxed to reduce the average SAR of the scan. The approach was experimentally verified on phantoms and volunteers using field echo and spin echo sequences. A reduction of the SAR by 25-50% was achieved without compromising image quality.
The implementation and first in vivo results of a novel coronary magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) protocol allowing simultaneous acquisition of multiple geometrically independent 3D imaging stacks are presented. Each imaging stack is acquired in a separate cardiac phase using an individual magnetization preparation and navigator-based gating and prospective motion correction. Each stack covers one of the main coronary vessels. Thus, an improvement of scan efficiency was achieved, which was used in this study to reduce total scan time at standard image quality. Experiments performed in healthy volunteers and in patients using a two-stack approach yielded a total scan time reduction of 50% with an image quality equivalent to standard single-stack coronary MRA.
D. Manke, K. Nehrke, P. Bornert, P. Rosch, and O. Dössel. Respiratory motion in coronary magnetic resonance angiography: a comparison of different motion models. In Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging : JMRI, vol. 15(6) , pp. 661-671, 2002
PURPOSE: To assess respiratory motion models for coronary magnetic resonance angiography (CMRA). In this study various motion models that describe the respiration-induced 3D displacements and deformations of the main coronary arteries were compared.MATERIALS AND METHODS: Multiple high-resolution 3D coronary MR images were acquired in healthy volunteers using navigator-based respiratory gating, each depicting the coronary vessels at different respiratory motion states. In the images representing the different inspiratory states the displacements and deformations of the main coronary vessels with respect to the end-expiratory state were determined, by means of elastic registration. Several correction models (superior-inferior (SI) translation, 3D translation, and 3D affine transformation) were tested and compared with respect to their ability to map a selected inspiratory to the end-expiratory motion state.RESULTS: 3D translation was found to be superior over SI translation, which is commonly used for prospective motion correction in CMRA. The 3D affine transformation was found to be the best correction model considered in this study. Furthermore, a large intersubject variability of the model parameters was observed.CONCLUSION: The results of this study indicate that a patient-adapted 3D correction model (3D translation or better 3D affine) will considerably improve prospective motion correction in CMRA.
C. Stehning, P. Bornert, K. Nehrke, and O. Dössel. Free breathing 3D balanced FFE coronary magnetic resonance angiography with prolonged cardiac acquisition windows and intra-RR motion correction. In Magnetic Resonance in Medicine : Official Journal of the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine / Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, vol. 53(3) , pp. 719-723, 2005
A shortcoming of today's coronary magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) is its low total scan efficiency (<5%), as only small well-defined fractions of the respiratory (50%) and cardiac (10%) cycle are used for data acquisition. These precautions are necessary to prevent blurring and artifacts related to respiratory and cardiac motion. Hence, scan times range from 4 to 9 min, which may not be tolerated by patients. To overcome this drawback, an ECG-triggered, navigator-gated free breathing radial 3D balanced FFE sequence with intra-RR motion correction is investigated in this study. Scan efficiency is increased by using a long cardiac acquisition window during the RR interval. This allows the acquisition of a number of independent k-space segments during each cardiac cycle. The intersegment motion is corrected using a self-guided epicardial fat tracking procedure in a postprocessing step. Finally, combining the motion-corrected segments forms a high-resolution image. Experiments on healthy volunteers are presented to show the basic feasibility of this approach.
A shortcoming of current coronary MRA methods with thin-slab 3D acquisitions is the time-consuming examination necessitated by extensive scout scanning and precise slice planning. To improve ease of use and cover larger parts of the anatomy, it appears desirable to image the entire heart with high spatial resolution instead. For this purpose, an isotropic 3D-radial acquisition was employed in this study. This method allows undersampling of k-space in all three spatial dimensions, and its insensitivity to motion enables extended acquisitions per cardiac cycle. We present initial phantom and in vivo results obtained in volunteers that demonstrate large volume coverage with high isotropic spatial resolution. We were able to visualize all major parts of the coronary arteries retrospectively from the volume data set without compromising the image quality. The scan time ranged from 10 to 14 min during free breathing at a heart rate of 60 bpm, which is comparable to that of a thin-slab protocol comprising multiple scans for each coronary artery.
OBJECT: Multiple contrasts are often helpful for a comprehensive diagnosis. In 3D abdominal MRI, breath-hold techniques are preferred for single contrast acquisitions to avoid respiratory artifacts. In this paper, highly accelerated parallel MRI is used to acquire large 3D abdominal volumes with two different contrasts within a single breath-hold. MATERIAL AND METHODS: In vivo studies have been performed on six healthy volunteers, combining T (1)- and T (2)-weighted, gradient- or spin-echo based scans, as well as water/fat resolved imaging in a single breath-hold. These 3D scans were acquired with an acceleration factor of six, using a prototype 32-element receive array. RESULTS: The presented approach was tested successfully on all volunteers. The whole liver area was covered by a FOV of 350 x 250 x 200 mm(3) for all scans with reasonable spatial resolution. Arbitrary scan protocols generating different contrasts have been shown to be combinable in this single breath-hold approach. Good spatial correspondence with negligible spatial offset was achieved for all different scan combinations acquired in overall breath-hold times between 15 and 25 s. CONCLUSION: Enabled by highly parallel imaging technology, this study demonstrates the technical feasibility and the promising image quality of single breath-hold dual contrast MRI.
R. Winkelmann, P. Bornert, and O. Dössel. Ghost artifact removal using a parallel imaging approach. In Magnetic Resonance in Medicine : Official Journal of the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine / Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, vol. 54(4) , pp. 1002-1009, 2005
Parallel imaging techniques, which use several receive coils simultaneously, have been shown to enable a significant scan time reduction by subsampling k-space. Nevertheless, the data acquired with multiple coils in parallel exhibit some redundancy if the number of receive coils exceeds the subsampling factor. This redundancy leads to an overdetermination of the reconstruction problem, which is generally used to optimize the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). However, it can yield further information about the quality of the reconstructed image, and can thus be used to identify and correct image artifacts. While some known approaches try to solve this problem in k-space, this study addresses it in the spatial domain and uses a modified SENSE reconstruction to reduce or completely remove ghost-type artifacts arising from processes such as motion or flow during data acquisition. Phantom and in vivo studies show significant improvements in image quality after correction, and serve as a basis for the discussion of the performance and limitations of this new approach.
Parallel imaging techniques, which in principle represent procedures of unfolding a reduced dataset, are well known and well established in MR imaging. This paper presents a further application of one particular reconstruction method, the SENSE algorithm, considered from a different point of view to remove potential foldover in conventional images acquired with multiple receive coils. Based on the coil sensitivity information, a body coverage map in the excited plane is calculated. This is used together with the measured raw data in a SENSE-type reconstruction to optimize the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) as well as to remove foldover reliably by unfolding the image to a larger field of view. The reconstruction is performed automatically, without any user interaction, and does not affect data acquisition. Based on phantom and in vivo studies, which retain high image quality after the removal, the potential and limits of this approach are discussed, also taking into account future scanner hardware that will support a large number of parallel receiver channels.