To evaluate the effect of different methods to convert magnetic resonance (MR) signal intensity (SI) to gadolinium concentration ([Gd]) on estimation and reproducibility of model-free and modeled hepatic perfusion parameters measured with dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE)-MRI.Materials and Methods:
In this Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved prospective study, 23 DCE-MRI examinations of the liver were performed on 17 patients. SI was converted to [Gd] using linearity vs. nonlinearity assumptions (using spoiled gradient recalled echo [SPGR] signal equations). The [Gd] vs. time curves were analyzed using model-free parameters and a dual-input single compartment model. Perfusion parameters obtained with the two conversion methods were compared using paired Wilcoxon test. Test–retest and interobserver reproducibility of perfusion parameters were assessed in six patients.Results:
There were significant differences between the two conversion methods for the following parameters: AUC60 (area under the curve at 60 s, P < 0.001), peak gadolinium concentration (Cpeak, P < 0.001), upslope (P < 0.001), Fp (portal flow, P = 0.04), total hepatic flow (Ft, P = 0.007), and MTT (mean transit time, P < 0.001). Our preliminary results showed acceptable to good reproducibility for all model-free parameters for both methods (mean coefficient of variation [CV] range, 11.87–23.7%), except for upslope (CV = 37%). Among modeled parameters, DV (distribution volume) had CV <22% with both methods, PV and MTT showed CV <21% and <29% using SPGR equations, respectively. Other modeled parameters had CV >30% with both methods.Conclusion:
Linearity assumption is acceptable for quantification of model-free hepatic perfusion parameters while the use of SPGR equations and T1 mapping may be recommended for the quantification of modeled hepatic perfusion parameters. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2014;40:90–98 © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.