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Title: Development of methodologies for diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging at high field strength
Author: Teh, Irvin Tze Wei
ISNI:       0000 0004 2687 1066
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2009
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Diffusion-weighted imaging of small animals at high field strengths is a challenging prospect due to its extreme sensitivity to motion. Periodically rotated overlapping parallel lines with enhanced reconstruction (PROPELLER) was introduced at 9.4T as an imaging method that is robust to motion and distortion. Proton density (PD)-weighted and T2-weighted PROPELLER data were generally superior to that acquired with single-shot, Cartesian and echo planar imaging-based methods in terms of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), contrast-to-noise ratio and resistance to artifacts. Simulations and experiments revealed that PROPELLER image quality was dependent on the field strength and echo times specified. In particular, PD-weighted imaging at high field led to artifacts that reduced image contrast. In PROPELLER, data are acquired in progressively rotated blades in k-space and combined on a Cartesian grid. PROPELLER with echo truncation at low spatial frequencies (PETALS) was conceived as a post-processing method that improved contrast by reducing the overlap of k-space data from different blades with different echo times. Where the addition of diffusion weighting gradients typically leads to catastrophic motion artifacts in multi-shot sequences, diffusion-weighted PROPELLER enabled the acquisition of high quality, motion-robust data. Applications in the healthy mouse brain and abdomen at 9.4T and in stroke patients at 3T are presented. PROPELLER increases the minimum scan time by approximately 50%. Consequently, methods were explored to reduce the acquisition time. Two k-space undersampling regimes were investigated by examining image fidelity as a function of degree of undersampling. Undersampling by acquiring fewer k-space blades was shown to be more robust to motion and artifacts than undersampling by expanding the distance between successive phase encoding steps. To improve the consistency of undersampled data, the non-uniform fast Fourier transform was employed. It was found that acceleration factors of up to two could be used with minimal visual impact on image fidelity. To reduce the number of scans required for isotropic diffusion weighting, the use of rotating diffusion gradients was investigated, exploiting the rotational symmetry of the PROPELLER acquisition. Fixing the diffusion weighting direction to the individual rotating blades yielded geometry and anisotropy-dependent diffusion measurements. However, alternating the orientations of diffusion weighting with successive blades led to more accurate measurements of the apparent diffusion coefficient while halving the overall acquisition time. Optimized strategies are proposed for the use of PROPELLER in rapid high resolution imaging at high field strength.
Supervisor: Larkman, David ; Golay, Xavier Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral