Subject-specific estimation of respiratory navigator tracking factor for free-breathing cardiovascular MR

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A mean respiratory navigator tracking factor of 0.6 is commonly used to estimate the respiratory motion of the heart from the displacement of the right hemi-diaphragm. A constant tracking factor can generate significant residual error in estimation of the respiratory motion of the heart for the cases where the actual tracking factor highly deviates from 0.6. In this study, we implemented and evaluated a robust method to calculate a subject-specific tracking factor for free-breathing high resolution cardiac MR. The subject-specific tracking factor was calculated from two consecutive navigator signals placed on the right hemi-diaphragm and the basal left ventricle in a training phase. To verify the accuracy of the estimated subject-specific tracking factor, nineteen subjects were recruited for comparing the estimated tracking factor in real-time with an image-based tracking factor, calculated off-line. Subsequently, in seven adult subjects, whole-heart or targeted coronary artery MR images were acquired using the estimated subject-specific tracking factor and visually compared with those acquired using a constant (0.6) tracking factor. It was shown that the proposed method can accurately estimate the subject-specific tracking factor and improve the quality of coronary images when the subject-specific tracking factor differs from 0.6.

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