To implement a reduced field of view (rFOV) technique for cardiac MR elastography (MRE) and to demonstrate the improvement in image quality of both magnitude images and post-processed MRE stiffness maps compared to the conventional full field of view (full-FOV) acquisition.
With Institutional Review Board approval, 17 healthy volunteers underwent both full-FOV and rFOV cardiac MRE scans using 140-Hz vibrations. Two cardiac radiologists blindly compared the magnitude images and stiffness maps and graded the images based on several image quality attributes using a 5-point ordinal scale. Fisher’s combined probability test was performed to assess the overall evaluation. The octahedral shear strain-based signal-to-noise ratio (OSS-SNR) and median stiffness over the left ventricular myocardium were also compared.
One volunteer was excluded because of an inconsistent imaging resolution during the exam. In the remaining 16 volunteers (9 males, 7 females), the rFOV scans outperformed the full-FOV scans in terms of subjective image quality and ghosting artifacts in the magnitude images and stiffness maps, as well as the overall preference. The quantitative measurements showed that rFOV had significantly higher OSS-SNR (median: 1.4 [95% confidence interval (CI): 1.2-1.5] vs. 2.1 [95% CI: 1.8-2.4]), P < 0.05) compared to full-FOV. Although no significant change was found in the median myocardial stiffness between the 2 scans, we observed a decrease in the stiffness variation within the myocardium from 2.1 kPa (95% CI: [1.9, 2.3]) to 1.9 kPa (95% CI: [1.7, 2.0]) for full-FOV and rFOV, respectively (P < 0.05) in a subgroup of 7 subjects with ghosting present in the myocardium.
This pilot volunteer study demonstrated that rFOV cardiac MRE has the capability to reduce ghosting and to improve image quality in both MRE magnitude images and stiffness maps.