In this study, we present a fully automated and robust self-navigated approach to obtain 4-dimensional (4-D) motion-resolved images during free breathing.Materials and Methods
The proposed method, Consistently Acquired Projections for Tuned and Robust Estimation (CAPTURE), is a variant of the stack-of-stars gradient-echo sequence. A 1-D navigator was consistently acquired at a fixed azimuthal angle for all stacks of spokes to reduce nonphysiological signal contamination due to system imperfections. The resulting projections were then “tuned” using complex phase rotation to adapt to scan-to-scan variations, followed by the detection of the respiratory curve. Four-dimensional motion-corrected and uncorrected images were then reconstructed via respiratory and temporal binning, respectively.Materials and Methods
This Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act–compliant study was performed with Institutional Review Board approval. A phantom experiment was performed using a custom-made deformable motion phantom with an adjustable frequency and amplitude. For in vivo experiments, 10 healthy participants and 12 liver tumor patients provided informed consent and were imaged with the CAPTURE sequence.Materials and Methods
Two radiologists, blinded to which images were motion-corrected and which were not, independently reviewed the images and scored the image quality using a 5-point Likert scale.Results
In the respiratory motion phantom experiment, CAPTURE reversed the effects of motion blurring and restored edge sharpness from 36% to 78% of that observed in the images from the static scan.Results
Despite large intra- and intersubject variability in respiration patterns, CAPTURE successfully detected the respiratory motion signal in all participants and significantly improved the image quality according to the subjective radiological assessments of 2 raters (P < 0.05 for both raters) with a 1 to 2-point improvement in the median Likert scores across the whole set of participants. Small lesions (<1 cm in size) which might otherwise be missed on uncorrected images because of motion blurring were more clearly depicted on the CAPTURE images.Conclusions
CAPTURE provides a robust and fully automated solution for obtaining 4-D motion-resolved images in a free-breathing setting. With its unique tuning feature, CAPTURE can adapt to large intersubject and interscan variations. CAPTURE also enables better lesion delineation because of improved image sharpness, thereby increasing the visibility of small lesions.