Partial volume effects on arterial input functions: shape and amplitude distortions and their correction

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For quantification of perfusion values from a bolus-tracking MRI experiment, the measurement of an arterial input function (AIF) is necessary. Gradient-echo (GE) sequences are commonly used for this type of experiment because they offer a high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and the potential to quantify the concentration of contrast agent. Measurements of calibration curves for Gd-DTPA in human blood have shown a quadratic relation between the ΔR2* and the concentration of contrast agent, and a linear relationship between phase changes and the concentration of contrast agent. However, for in vivo studies the spatial resolution is usually limited, which leads to partial volume effects. Partial volume effects result in a complex sum of signal arising from the tissue outside the vessel and a contrast agent concentration-dependent blood signal. Ignoring the presence of partial volume effects can lead to an overestimation or underestimation of the contrast agent concentration, depending on the experimental conditions. Correction for partial volume effects is feasible in arteries that are parallel to the main magnetic field by estimation and subtraction of the static signal of the surrounding tissue. Patient studies showed a large variation due to the AIF measurements, but it has also been shown that this influence can be minimized by correction for partial volume effects. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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