Purpose: To evaluate the visualization of middle ear ossicles by ultra-short echo time magnetic resonance (MR) imaging at 3T in subjects over 50 years old. Materials and Methods: Sixty ears from 30 elder patients that underwent surgical or interventional treatment for neurovascular diseases were included (ages: 50–82, median age: 65; 10 men, 20 women). Patients received follow-up MR imaging including routine T1- and T2-weighted images, time-of-flight MR angiography, and ultra-short echo time imaging (PETRA, pointwise encoding time reduction with radial acquisition). All patients underwent computed tomography (CT) angiography before treatment. Thin-section source CT images were correlated with PETRA images. Scan parameters for PETRA were: TR 3.13, TE 0.07, flip angle 6 degrees, 0.83 × 0.83 × 0.83 mm resolution, 3 min 43 s scan time. Two radiologists retrospectively evaluated the visibility of each ossicular structure as positive or negative using PETRA images. The structures evaluated included the head of the malleus, manubrium of the malleus, body of the incus, long process of the incus, and the stapes. Signal intensity of the ossicles was classified as: between labyrinthine fluid and air, similar to labyrinthine fluid, between labyrinthine fluid and cerebellar parenchyma, or higher than cerebellar parenchyma. Results: In all ears, the body of the incus was visible. The head of the malleus was visualized in 36/60 ears. The manubrium of the malleus and long process of the incus was visualized in 1/60 and 4/60 ears, respectively. The stapes were not visualized in any ear. Signal intensity of the visible structures was between labyrinthine fluid and air in all ears. Conclusion: The body of the incus was consistently visualized with intensity between air and labyrinthine fluid on PETRA images in aged subjects. Poor visualization of the manubrium of the malleus, long process of the incus, and the stapes limits clinical significance of middle ear imaging with current PETRA methods.
Purpose: Electrocardiogram (ECG) triggering for cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) may be influenced by electromagnetic interferences with increasing magnetic field strength. The aim of this study was to evaluate the performance of Doppler ultrasound (DUS) as an alternative trigger technique for CMR in comparison to ECG and pulse oximetry (POX) at 3T and using different sequence types. Methods: Balanced turbo field echo two-dimensional (2D) short axis cine CMR and 2D phase-contrast angiography of the ascending aorta was performed in 11 healthy volunteers at 3T using ECG, DUS, and POX for cardiac triggering. DUS and POX triggering were compared to the reference standard of ECG in terms of trigger quality (trigger detection and temporal variability), image quality [endocardial blurring (EB)], and functional measurements [left ventricular (LV) volumetry and aortic blood flow velocimetry]. Results: Trigger signal detection and temporal variability did not differ significantly between ECG/DUS (I = 0.6) and ECG/POX (P = 0.4). Averaged EB was similar for ECG, DUS, and POX (pECG/DUS = 0.4, pECG/POX = 0.9). Diastolic EB was significantly decreased for DUS in comparison to ECG (P = 0.02) and POX (P = 0.04). The LV function assessment and aortic blood flow were not significantly different. Conclusion: This study demonstrated the feasibility of DUS for gating human CMR at 3T. The magnetohydrodynamic effect did not significantly disturb ECG triggering in this small healthy volunteer study. DUS showed a significant improvement in diastolic EB but could not be identified as a superior trigger method. The potential benefit of DUS has to be evaluated in a larger clinical patient population.
Purpose: We quantitatively investigated hepatic enhancement in gadolinium-ethoxybenzyl-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-EOB-DTPA)-enhanced magnetic resonance (MR) imaging at 1.5T and 3.0T. Methods: A total of 40 patients who underwent Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MR imaging were included in the study. Precontrast and hepatobiliary-phase images acquired at a low flip angle (FA, 12°) and hepatobiliary-phase images acquired at a high FA (30°) were analyzed. From these images, the liver-to-muscle signal intensity ratio (LMR) and liver-to-spleen signal intensity ratio (LSR) were estimated, and the contrast enhancement ratio (CER) was calculated from the liver signal, LMR, and LSR as the ratio of the low-FA hepatobiliary-phase value to the precontrast value. The coefficient of variance in the liver signal was determined to represent image noise. Results: LMR and LSR indicated similar image contrast between 1.5T and 3.0T. A higher FA provided larger LMRs and LSRs, and the degree of the FA-dependent increase was similar between 1.5T and 3.0T. CER did not differ significantly between 1.5T and 3.0T, regardless of the calculation method. A better correlation to CER calculated from the liver signal was found for the LMR-based CER values than for the LSR-based CER. The coefficient of variance in the liver signal was significantly smaller at 3.0T for precontrast and low-FA hepatobiliary-phase images, but not for high-FA hepatobiliary-phase images. Conclusion: The indices of hepatic enhancement were similar between 1.5T and 3.0T, indicating that the magnetic field strength does not substantially influence image contrast after administration of Gd-EOB-DTPA.
Purpose: Image non-uniformity may cause substantial problems in magnetic resonance (MR) imaging especially when a 3-T scanner is used. We evaluated the effect of image non-uniformity correction in gadolinium ethoxybenzyl-diethylenetriamine pentaacetic acid (Gd-EOB-DTPA)-enhanced MR imaging using a 3-T scanner. Methods: Two commercially available methods for image non-uniformity correction, surface coil intensity correction (SCIC), and phased-array uniformity enhancement (PURE), were applied to Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced images acquired at 3-T in 20 patients. The calibration images were used for PURE and not for SCIC. Uniformity in the liver signal was evaluated visually and using histogram analysis. The liver-to-muscle signal ratio (LMR) and liver-to-spleen signal ratio (LSR) were estimated, and the contrast enhancement ratio (CER) was calculated from the liver signal, LMR, and LSR. Results: Without non-uniformity correction, hyperintensity was consistently observed near the liver surface. Both SCIC and PURE improved uniformity in the liver signal; however, the superficial hyperintensity remained after the application of SCIC, especially in the hepatobiliary-phase images, and focal hyperintensity was shown in the lateral segment of the left hepatic lobe after the application of PURE. PURE increased LMR dramatically and LSR mildly, with no changes in CERs. SCIC depressed temporal changes in LMR and LSR and obscured contrast effects, regardless of the method used for calculation of CER. Conclusion: SCIC improves uniformity in the liver signal; however, it is not suitable for a quantitative assessment of contrast effects. PURE is indicated to be a useful method for non-uniformity correction in Gd-EOB-DTPA-enhanced MR imaging using a 3-T scanner.
Purpose: Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) using readout-segmented EPI (rs-EPI) can minimize distortion and blurring artifacts; however, we sometimes encounter cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) pulsation artifacts on apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps, especially when the number of readout segments (NRS) is increased. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of the NRS on the CSF pulsation artifacts in the ADC maps of healthy volunteers.
Methods: In 10 healthy volunteers, we obtained DWI from rs-EPI with a b-value of 0 and 1000 s/mm2. The NRS was set to 5, 7, or 9. An ADC map was generated from the trace image and the b = 0 image. Each scan was performed twice. A circular region of interest (ROI) was drawn in the pons and bilateral thalami. The standard deviation (SD) of the ROI was measured to assess the artifacts. Bilateral SD values were averaged for the ROIs in the thalami. The SD values from two successive scans of each NRS were averaged for the pons and thalami, respectively. For the qualitative analysis, the CSF pulsation artifacts on each ADC map were graded by two observers independently as 0, no artifact; 1, mild artifact; 2, moderate artifact; or 3, severe artifact.
Results: In the quantitative analysis, the SD values tend to increase with the increasing of NRS in both thalami and pons; however, the difference in the SD values from each NRS did not reach a statistically significant level. In the qualitative analysis, there was a statistically significant difference in the scores between 5 and 9 segments and between 7 and 9 segments with both the observers, respectively (P < 0.05).
Conclusion: The CSF pulsation artifacts on ADC maps obtained with rs-EPI are affected by the NRS.
Purpose: The purpose of the present study was to compare different software algorithms for processing DSC perfusion images of cerebral tumors with respect to i) the relative CBV (rCBV) calculated, ii) the cutoff value for discriminating low- and high-grade gliomas, and iii) the diagnostic performance for differentiating these tumors.
Methods: Following approval of institutional review board, informed consent was obtained from all patients. Thirty-five patients with primary glioma (grade II, 9; grade III, 8; and grade IV, 18 patients) were included. DSC perfusion imaging was performed with 3-Tesla MRI scanner. CBV maps were generated by using 11 different algorithms of four commercially available software and one academic program. rCBV of each tumor compared to normal white matter was calculated by ROI measurements. Differences in rCBV value were compared between algorithms for each tumor grade. Receiver operator characteristics analysis was conducted for the evaluation of diagnostic performance of different algorithms for differentiating between different grades.
Results: Several algorithms showed significant differences in rCBV, especially for grade IV tumors. When differentiating between low- (II) and high-grade (III/IV) tumors, the area under the ROC curve (Az) was similar (range 0.85–0.87), and there were no significant differences in Az between any pair of algorithms. In contrast, the optimal cutoff values varied between algorithms (range 4.18–6.53).
Conclusions: rCBV values of tumor and cutoff values for discriminating low- and high-grade gliomas differed between software packages, suggesting that optimal software-specific cutoff values should be used for diagnosis of high-grade gliomas.
Purpose: Heme and iron accumulation due to repeated hemorrhage in endometriosis may contribute to a pivotal role in carcinogenesis. We evaluate the clinical application of MR relaxometry in a series of ovarian endometriosis (OE) and endometriosis-associated ovarian cancer (EAOC).
Materials and Methods: A prospective study of diagnostic accuracy was conducted among 82 patients (67 OE and 15 EAOC) to compare MR relaxometry and biochemical measurement of cyst fluid total iron concentration. Transverse relaxation rate R2 value was determined using a single-voxel, multi-echo MR sequence (HISTO) by a 3T-MR system. Phantom experiments were also performed to assess the correlation between the ex vivo R2 values and total iron concentrations.
Results: Both the results of phantom experiments and in vivo human data confirmed that in vivo R2 values were highly correlated with total iron concentrations. Compared to OE, EAOC exhibit decreased in vivo R2 values and total iron levels, regardless of their age, menopausal status and cyst size. The use of in vivo R2 values retained excellent accuracy in distinguishing EAOC versus OE (sensitivity and specificity: 86% and 94%).
Conclusions: We have demonstrated that MR relaxometry provides a noninvasive predictive tool to discriminate between EAOC and OE.
Purpose: To quantitatively investigate in vitro the effects of flip angle (FA), receiver bandwidth (BW), echo time (TE), and magnetic field strength (FS) on image noise and artifacts induced by stent-assisted coiling on contrast-enhanced MR angiography (CE-MRA) images, as a first step towards optimization of imaging parameters.
Methods: A phantom simulating a cerebral aneurysm treated using stent-assisted coiling was filled with diluted gadolinium contrast medium, and MR angiography were obtained using varied parameters: FA (10°–60°), BW (164–780 Hz/pixel), and FS (1.5 and 3.0T). The TE varied automatically with BW because the TE was set to the smallest value. Three kinds of indices were semi-automatically calculated to quantify the severity of stent- and coil-induced artifacts: artificial lumen narrowing (ALN) representing a decrease in the in-stent luminal area, and relative in-stent signal (RISS) and relative in-coil signal (RISC) representing an increase in the in-stent and in-coil signal intensities, respectively. We also measured the ratio of in-stent signal to noise (IS/N) for each parameter. The variation in these indices with variations in FA, BW (TE), and FS was analyzed.
Results: An increase in FA led to an increase of up to 65% in the RISS, while the IS/N increased by up to three times. The 1.5T scanner indicated fewer artifacts (71% lower ALN, two times higher RISS, and 40% higher RISC) than the 3.0T scanner. On the other hand, the 1.5T scanner worsened the IS/N compared with the 3.0T scanner, although the difference was relatively small. Variation in BW (and hence, TE) led to a trade-off between artifact severity and IS/N.
Conclusion: A high FA and low FS should be used for improved artifact severity and IS/N on CE-MRA images of a stent-assisted coil. A wide BW (short TE) could improve artifact severity at the expense of the image noise.
Purpose: Three-chamber view (3ch.) three-directional encoded phase-contrast magnetic resonance velocity vector mapping (PCMRVM) has been used for visualization and assessment of intra-cardiac flow. Although transmitral inflow velocity can be determined using this method by tracing mitral tips during the cardiac phase, its feasibility for clinical applications has not been established. Our aim was to investigate the validity and reproducibility of 3ch. PCMRVM for determining transmitral inflow velocity.
Methods: We conducted 3ch. PCMRVM for 32 patients and eight healthy volunteers and analyzed the transmitral inflow pattern and early (E) and late (A) diastolic velocity. Nine patients also underwent Doppler echocardiography to evaluate correlations between the methods for E and A velocities and the E/A ratio. Intra- and inter-observer variability were calculated using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC [1, 1] and ICC [2, 1]) for peak E and A velocities, Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient for the E/A ratio, and Cohen’s kappa coefficient for the inflow pattern.
Results: Bland-Altman plots indicated that 3ch. PCMRVM showed systemically lower velocities than Doppler echocardiography for E (3 [25.8] 48.6) and A (−6.28  48.3); however, a strong correlation was observed (r = 0.81, P < 0.0001). The E/A ratio was not statistically different between the two modalities (P = 0.21). The intra- and inter-observer variabilities for peak E and A velocities and the E/A ratio demonstrated nearly perfect agreement or strong correlations, except for the peak E velocity (ICC [2, 1] = 0.751).
Conclusion: Based on these results, 3ch. PCMRVM can be used for both visualization and assessment of intra-cardiac flow and evaluation of the transmitral inflow velocity.
We proposed and assessed a modified asymmetric Fourier imaging (AFI) technique named real-based polarity-preserving AFI (RepAFI), in which the low-pass filter kernel for background phase estimation in AFI is optimized to preserve the magnetization polarity information for blood vessels and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) even for data obtained using phase-sensitive inversion-recovery spin-echo-based (PSIR-SE) sequences with asymmetrical sampling in the k-space. Our proposed RepAFI technique achieves a practical balance of image quality and simplicity to provide better performance than conventional AFI methods.
We report that diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and tractography (DTT) of the pyramidal tracts using multi-band (MB) EPI could be a useful tool with a 1.5T MRI. We compared images using single-band EPI (SB-EPI) and MB-EPI. MB-EPI could reduce the scanning time by about 40%. We demonstrated that it is comparable between image qualities of SB-EPI and MB-EPI using tract-specific analysis and dice coefficients. Therefore, MB-EPI can promote high-speed DTI and DTT in clinical applications.
Our article reports a case of a 35-year-old man with cardiac mass, who underwent a wide range of imaging methods, including cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT). Contrast-enhanced MRI images revealed “sun ray” pattern in the mass. Final histopathological diagnosis of angiosarcoma was confirmed during autopsy. To our knowledge, our case is the second direct observation of this MRI diagnostic pattern and the first one that allows a comparison with PET/CT findings.
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