Accelerated Brain DCE-MRI Using Iterative Reconstruction With Total Generalized Variation Penalty for Quantitative Pharmacokinetic Analysis: A Feasibility Study

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Purpose:To investigate the feasibility of using undersampled k-space data and an iterative image reconstruction method with total generalized variation penalty in the quantitative pharmacokinetic analysis for clinical brain dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging.Methods:Eight brain dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging scans were retrospectively studied. Two k-space sparse sampling strategies were designed to achieve a simulated image acquisition acceleration factor of 4. They are (1) a golden ratio–optimized 32-ray radial sampling profile and (2) a Cartesian-based random sampling profile with spatiotemporal-regularized sampling density constraints. The undersampled data were reconstructed to yield images using the investigated reconstruction technique. In quantitative pharmacokinetic analysis on a voxel-by-voxel basis, the rate constant Ktrans in the extended Tofts model and blood flow FB and blood volume VB from the 2-compartment exchange model were analyzed. Finally, the quantitative pharmacokinetic parameters calculated from the undersampled data were compared with the corresponding calculated values from the fully sampled data. To quantify each parameter’s accuracy calculated using the undersampled data, error in volume mean, total relative error, and cross-correlation were calculated.Results:The pharmacokinetic parameter maps generated from the undersampled data appeared comparable to the ones generated from the original full sampling data. Within the region of interest, most derived error in volume mean values in the region of interest was about 5% or lower, and the average error in volume mean of all parameter maps generated through either sampling strategy was about 3.54%. The average total relative error value of all parameter maps in region of interest was about 0.115, and the average cross-correlation of all parameter maps in region of interest was about 0.962. All investigated pharmacokinetic parameters had no significant differences between the result from original data and the reduced sampling data.Conclusion:With sparsely sampled k-space data in simulation of accelerated acquisition by a factor of 4, the investigated dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging pharmacokinetic parameters can accurately estimate the total generalized variation-based iterative image reconstruction method for reliable clinical application.

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