2020 Volume 19 Issue 3 Pages 216-226
Purpose: Intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) analysis has attracted the interest of the clinical community due to its close relationship with microperfusion. Nevertheless, there is no clear reference protocol for its implementation; one of the questions being which b-value distribution to use. This study aimed to stress the importance of the sampling scheme and to show that an optimized b-value distribution decreases the variance associated with IVIM parameters in the brain with respect to a regular distribution in healthy volunteers.
Methods: Ten volunteers were included in this study; images were acquired on a 1.5T MR scanner. Two distributions of 16 b-values were used: one considered ‘regular’ due to its close association with that used in other studies, and the other considered ‘optimized’ according to previous studies. IVIM parameters were adjusted according to the bi-exponential model, using two-step method. Analysis was undertaken in ROI defined using in the Automated Anatomical Labeling atlas, and parameters distributions were compared in a total of 832 ROI.
Results: Maps with fewer speckles were obtained with the ‘optimized’ distribution. Coefficients of variation did not change significantly for the estimation of the diffusion coefficient D but decreased by approximately 39% for the pseudo-diffusion coefficient estimation and by 21% for the perfusion fraction. Distributions of adjusted parameters were found significantly different in 50% of the cases for the perfusion fraction, in 80% of the cases for the pseudo-diffusion coefficient and 17% of the cases for the diffusion coefficient. Observations across brain areas show that the range of average values for IVIM parameters is smaller in the ‘optimized’ case.
Conclusion: Using an optimized distribution, data are sampled in a way that the IVIM signal decay is better described and less variance is obtained in the fitted parameters. The increased precision gained could help to detect small variations in IVIM parameters.