To accurately correct diffusion-encoding direction-dependent eddy-current-induced geometric distortions in diffusion-weighted echo-planar imaging (DW-EPI) and to minimize the calibration time at 7 Tesla (T).Methods:
A point spread function (PSF) mapping based eddy-current calibration method is newly presented to determine eddy-current-induced geometric distortions even including nonlinear eddy-current effects within the readout acquisition window. To evaluate the temporal stability of eddy-current maps, calibration was performed four times within 3 months. Furthermore, spatial variations of measured eddy-current maps versus their linear superposition were investigated to enable correction in DW-EPIs with arbitrary diffusion directions without direct calibration. For comparison, an image-based eddy-current correction method was additionally applied. Finally, this method was combined with a PSF-based susceptibility-induced distortion correction approach proposed previously to correct both susceptibility and eddy-current-induced distortions in DW-EPIs.Results:
Very fast eddy-current calibration in a three-dimensional volume is possible with the proposed method. The measured eddy-current maps are very stable over time and very similar maps can be obtained by linear superposition of principal-axes eddy-current maps. High resolution in vivo brain results demonstrate that the proposed method allows more efficient eddy-current correction than the image-based method.Conclusion:
The combination of both PSF-based approaches allows distortion-free images, which permit reliable analysis in diffusion tensor imaging applications at 7T. Magn Reson Med 75:2055–2063, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.