2018 Volume 17 Issue 3 Pages 251-258
Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the suitability of two phantoms, one made of capillary plates and the other polyethylene fibers, for assessing the quality of diffusion tensor imaging (DTI).
Methods: The first phantom was a stack of glass capillary plates with many parallel micropores (CP). The second phantom was a bundle of polyethylene fiber Dyneema held together with a thermal shrinkage tube (Dy). High resolution multi-shot echo planar imaging (EPI) DTI acquisitions were performed at b-values of 0 and 1000 s/mm2 and diffusion-times (Tdiff) of 37.7 and 97.7 ms on a preclinical 7T MRI scanner. Thirty diffusion-encoding directions were used. The data were used to calculate the fractional anisotropy (FA), mean diffusivity (MD), and angular dispersion (AD). Further acquisitions were performed at b-values from 0 to 8000 s/mm2 in 14 steps with the diffusion gradient applied parallel (axial) and perpendicular (radial) to the Z direction. On the other hand, the data acquired with a 3T MRI scanner were used to confirm that measurements on a clinical machine are consistent with the 7T MRI results.
Results: The dependence of FA, MD and AD on Tdiff was smaller for the Dy than for the CPs. The b-value-dependent signal attenuations in the axial direction at Tdiff = 37.7 and 97.7 ms were similar for both phantoms. In the radial direction, Dy demonstrated similar b-value attenuation to that of in vivo tissue for both Tdiffs, but the attenuation for the CPs was affected by the change in Tdiff. Parameter estimates were similar for 3T and 7T MRI.
Conclusion: The characteristics of the CP indicate that it can be used as a restricted-diffusion dominant phantom, while the characteristics of the Dy suggest that it can be used as a hindered-diffusion dominant phantom. Dy may be more suitable than CP for DTI quality control.