Robust diffusion tensor imaging by spatiotemporal encoding: Principles and in vivo demonstrations

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Abstract

Purpose

Evaluate the usefulness of single-shot and of interleaved spatiotemporally encoded (SPEN) methods to perform diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) under various preclinical and clinical settings.

Methods

A formalism for analyzing SPEN DTI data is presented, tailored to account for the spatially dependent b-matrix weightings introduced by the sequence's use of swept pulses acting while in the presence of field gradients. Using these b-matrix calculations, SPEN's ability to deliver DTI measurements was tested on phantoms as well as ex vivo and in vivo. In the latter case, DTI involved scans on mice brains and on human lactating breasts.

Results

For both ex vivo and in vivo investigations, SPEN data proved less sensitive to distortions arising from Bo field inhomogeneities and from eddy currents, than conventional single-shot alternatives. Further resolution enhancement could be achieved using referenceless methods for interleaved SPEN data acquisitions.

Conclusion

The robustness of SPEN-based sequences vis-à-vis field instabilities and heterogeneities, enables the implementation of DTI experiments with good sensitivity and resolution even in challenging environments in both preclinical and clinical settings. Magn Reson Med 77:1124–1133, 2017. © 2016 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine

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