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.
T. Voigt, K. Nehrke, O. Doessel, and U. Katscher. T(1) corrected B(1) mapping using multi-TR gradient echo sequences. In Magnetic Resonance in Medicine : Official Journal of the Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine / Society of Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, 2010
This work presents a new approach toward a fast, simultaneous amplitude of radiofrequency field (B(1)) and T(1) mapping technique. The new method is based on the "actual flip angle imaging" (AFI) sequence. However, the single pulse repetition time (TR) pair used in the standard AFI sequence is replaced by multiple pulse repetition time sets. The resulting method was called "multiple TR B(1)/T(1) mapping" (MTM). In this study, MTM was investigated and compared to standard AFI in simulations and experiments. Feasibility and reliability of MTM were proven in phantom and in vivo experiments. Error propagation theory was applied to identify optimal sequence parameters and to facilitate a systematic noise comparison to standard AFI. In terms of accuracy and signal-to-noise ratio, the presented method outperforms standard AFI B(1) mapping over a wide range of T(1). Finally, the capability of MTM to determine T(1) was analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively, yielding good agreement with reference measurements. Magn Reson Med, 2010. (c) 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
The electric conductivity can potentially be used as an additional diagnostic parameter, e.g., in tumour diagnosis. Moreover, the electric conductivity, in connection with the electric field, can be used to estimate the local SAR distribution during MR measurements. In this study, a new approach, called electric properties tomography (EPT) is presented. It derives the patient's electric conductivity, along with the corresponding electric fields, from the spatial sensitivity distributions of the applied RF coils, which are measured via MRI. Corresponding numerical simulations and initial experiments on a standard clinical MRI system underline the principal feasibility of EPT to determine the electric conductivity and the local SAR. In contrast to previous methods to measure the patient's electric properties, EPT does not apply externally mounted electrodes, currents, or RF probes, thus enhancing the practicability of the approach. Furthermore, in contrast to previous methods, EPT circumvents the solution of an inverse problem, which might lead to significantly higher spatial image resolution.
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.
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.
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.
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.
D. Manke, P. Rösch, K. Nehrke, P. Börnert, and O. Dössel. Model evaluation and calibration for prospective respiratory motion correction in coronary MR angiography based on 3-D image registration. In IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging, vol. 21(9) , pp. 1132-1141, 2002
Image processing was used as a fundamental tool to derive motion information from magnetic resonance (MR) images, which was fed back into prospective respiratory motion correction during subsequent data acquisition to improve image quality in coronary MR angiography (CMRA) scans. This reduces motion artifacts in the images and, in addition, enables the usage of a broader gating window than commonly used today to increase the scan efficiency. The aim of the study reported in this paper was to find a suitable motion model to be used for respiratory motion correction in cardiac imaging and to develop a calibration procedure to adapt the motion model to the individual patient. At first, the performance of three motion models [one-dimensional translation in feet-head (FH) direction, three-dimensional (3-D) translation, and 3-D affine transformation] was tested in a small volunteer study. An elastic image registration algorithm was applied to 3-D MR images of the coronary vessels obtained at different respiratory levels. A strong intersubject variability was observed. The 3-D translation and affine transformation model were found to be superior over the conventional FH translation model used today. Furthermore, a new approach is presented, which utilizes a fast model-based image registration to extract motion information from time series of low-resolution 3-D MR images, which reflects the respiratory motion of the heart. The registration is based on a selectable global 3-D motion model (translation, rigid, or affine transformation). All 3-D MR images were registered with respect to end expiration. The resulting time series of model parameters were analyzed in combination with additionally acquired motion information from a diaphragmatic MR pencil-beam navigator to calibrate the respiratory motion model. To demonstrate the potential of a calibrated motion model for prospective motion correction in coronary imaging, the approach was tested in CMRA examinations in five volunteers.
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.
Motion is one major problem of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the coronary vessels. Despite of cardiac motion of the beating heart itself respiratory motion has to be considered (see MR movie of respiratory motion of the heart). Respiratory motion is commonly suppressed by gating techniques, which reduce scan efficiency. In principle modern MR scanners are able to correct those motion patterns prospectively, which can be described by a 3D affine transformation. A prospective motion correction approach could be used to increase the respiratory gating window and in consequence to reduce scan time. However, in order to achieve a sufficient correction the motion must be described quantitatively. In this initial study the respiratory motion of the heart (coronary vessels) was analysed and a new motion model described by an affine transformation was compared to two rigid motion models. The affine transformation model achieved a better fit (mean error < 1 mm for coronary vessels) than a rigid motion model describing translation in all directions (mean error < 2 mm) and a rigid motion model covering only superior-inferior motion (mean error <6 mm).