Forecasting the Quality of Water-Suppressed 1H MR Spectra Based on a Single-Shot Water Scan

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To investigate whether an initial non–water-suppressed acquisition that provides information about the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and linewidth is enough to forecast the maximally achievable final spectral quality and thus inform the operator whether the foreseen number of averages and achieved field homogeneity is adequate.


A large range of spectra with varying SNR and linewidth was simulated and fitted with popular fitting programs to determine the dependence of fitting errors on linewidth and SNR. A tool to forecast variance based on a single acquisition was developed and its performance evaluated on simulated and in vivo data obtained at 3 Tesla from various brain regions and acquisition settings.


A strong correlation to real uncertainties in estimated metabolite contents was found for the forecast values and the Cramer-Rao lower bounds obtained from the water-suppressed spectra.


It appears to be possible to forecast the best-case errors associated with specific metabolites to be found in model fits of water-suppressed spectra based on a single water scan. Thus, nonspecialist operators will be able to judge ahead of time whether the planned acquisition can possibly be of sufficient quality to answer the targeted clinical question or whether it needs more averages or improved shimming.

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