Intravoxel Incoherent Motion Analysis of Abdominal Organs: Application of Simultaneous Multislice Acquisition

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The aim of this study was to systematically evaluate the accuracy of quantitative intravoxel incoherent motion (IVIM) analysis of the upper abdomen applying simultaneous multislice (SMS) diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) to reduce acquisition time.

Materials and Methods

Diffusion-weighted imaging of parenchymal abdominal organs was performed in 8 healthy volunteers at 3 T using a standard DWI sequence (acceleration factor 1 [AF1]) and an SMS-accelerated echo planar imaging sequence with acceleration factors 2 and 3 (AF2/AF3). Intravoxel incoherent motion analysis was performed with a multistep algorithm for true diffusion coefficient (Dt), pseudodiffusion coefficient (D*), and fraction of perfusion (Fp) measured for the liver, kidney cortex and medulla, pancreas, spleen, and erector spinae muscle. Qualitative and quantitative parameters were compared using a repeated measurement 1-way analysis of variance test and the Bonferroni post hoc method.


Simultaneous multislice DWI provided diagnostic image quality in all volunteers with a reduction of scan time of 50% for AF2 (67% for AF3) compared with the standard sequence. Decent IVIM analysis for Dt, D*, and Fp can be calculated on the images of both the SMS sequences AF2 and AF3 with typical organ characteristics of IVIM; however, systematical deviations from AF1 were observed: Dt values increased and Fp decreased significantly with higher acceleration factor for liver, kidney, pancreas, and muscle (P < 0.05). Fitting curves of higher acceleration factors tend to be more monoexponentially shaped.


Simultaneous multislice acceleration provides considerable scan time reduction for upper abdomen DWI with equivalent quality of IVIM analysis compared with the standard nonaccelerated technique. Systematic discrepancies of the true Dt, D*, and Fp for SMS acquisitions need to be considered when comparing to standard DWI sequences.

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