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CT substitutes derived from MR images reconstructed with parallel imaging
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Radiation Sciences, Radiation Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-9849-2143
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Radiation Sciences, Radiation Physics.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Radiation Sciences, Oncology.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Radiation Sciences, Radiation Physics.
2014 (English)In: Medical physics (Lancaster), ISSN 0094-2405, Vol. 41, no 8, 474-480 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: Computed tomography (CT) substitute images can be generated from ultrashort echo time (UTE) MRI sequences with radial k-space sampling. These CT substitutes can be used as ordinary CT images for PET attenuation correction and radiotherapy dose calculations. Parallel imaging allows faster acquisition of magnetic resonance (MR) images by exploiting differences in receiver coil element sensitivities. This study investigates whether non-Cartesian parallel imaging reconstruction can be used to improve CT substitutes generated from shorter examination times.

Methods: The authors used gridding as well as two non-Cartesian parallel imaging reconstruction methods, SPIRiT and CG-SENSE, to reconstruct radial UTE and gradient echo (GE) data into images of the head for 23 patients. For each patient, images were reconstructed from the full dataset and from a number of subsampled datasets. The subsampled datasets simulated shorter acquisition times by containing fewer radial k-space spokes (1000, 2000, 3000, 5000, and 10 000 spokes) than the full dataset (30 000 spokes). For each combination of patient, reconstruction method, and number of spokes, the reconstructed UTE and GE images were used to generate a CT substitute. Each CT substitute image was compared to a real CT image of the same patient.

Results: The mean absolute deviation between the CT number in CT substitute and CT decreased when using SPIRiT as compared to gridding reconstruction. However, the reduction was small and the CT substitute algorithm was insensitive to moderate subsampling (≥5000 spokes) regardless of reconstruction method. For more severe subsampling (≤3000 spokes), corresponding to acquisition times less than aminute long, the CT substitute quality was deteriorated for all reconstructionmethods but SPIRiT gave a reduction in the mean absolute deviation of down to 25 Hounsfield units compared to gridding.

Conclusions: SPIRiT marginally improved the CT substitute quality for a given number of radial spokes as compared to gridding. However, the increased reconstruction time of non-Cartesian parallel imaging reconstruction is difficult to motivate from this improvement. Because the CT substitute algorithm was insensitive to moderate subsampling, data for a CT substitute could be collected in as little as minute and reconstructed with gridding without deteriorating the CT substitute quality.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 41, no 8, 474-480 p.
Keyword [en]
magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography substitute, ultrashort echo time, parallel imaging, radial imaging
National Category
Physical Sciences
Research subject
radiofysik
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-93051DOI: 10.1118/1.4886766ISI: 000341068100043OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-93051DiVA: diva2:745922
Available from: 2014-09-11 Created: 2014-09-11 Last updated: 2017-12-05Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Magnetic resonance imaging with ultrashort echo time as a substitute for X-ray computed tomography
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Magnetic resonance imaging with ultrashort echo time as a substitute for X-ray computed tomography
2014 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Radiotherapy dose calculations have evolved from simple factor based methods performed with pen and paper, into computationally intensive simulations based on Monte Carlo theory and energy deposition kernel convolution.

Similarly, in the field of positron emission tomography (PET), attenuation correction, which was originally omitted entirely, is now a crucial component of any PET reconstruction algorithm.

Today, both of these applications – radiotherapy and PET – derive their needed in-tissue radiation attenuation coefficients from images acquired with X-ray computed tomography (CT). Since X-ray images are themselves acquired using ionizing radiation, the intensity at a point in an image will reflect the radiation interaction properties of the tissue located at that point.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), on the other hand, does not use ionizing radiation. Instead MRI make use of the net transverse magnetization resulting from the spin polarization of hydrogen nuclei. MR image contrast can be varied to a greater extent than CT and the soft tissue contrast is, for most MR sequences, superior to that of CT. Therefore, for many cases, MR images provide a considerable advantage over CT when identifying or delineating tumors or other diseased tissues.

For this reason, there is an interest to replace CT with MRI for a great number of diagnostic and therapeutic workflows. Also, replacing CT with MRI would reduce the exposure to ionizing radiation experienced by patients and, by extension, reduce the associated risk to induce cancer.

In part MRI has already replaced CT, but for radiotherapy dose calculations and PET attenuation correction, CT examinations are still necessary in clinical practice. One of the reasons is that the net transverse magnetization imaged in MRI cannot be converted into attenuation coefficients for ionizing radiation in a straightforward way. More specifically, regions with similar appearance in magnetic resonance (MR) images, such as bone and air pockets, are found at different ends of the spectrum of attenuation coefficients present in the human body. In a CT image, bone will appear bright white and air as black corresponding to high and no attenuation, respectively. In an MR image, bone and air both appear dark due to the lack of net transverse magnetization.

The weak net transverse magnetization of bone is a result of low hydrogen density and rapid transverse relaxation. A particular category of MRI sequences with so-called ultrashort echo time (UTE) can sample the MRI signal from bone before it is lost due to transverse relaxation. Thus, UTE sequences permit bone to be imaged with MRI albeit with weak intensity and poor resolution.

Imaging with UTE in combination with careful image analysis can permit ionizing-radiation attenuation-maps to be derived from MR images. This dissertation and appended articles present a procedure for this very purpose. However, as attenuation coefficients are radiation-quality dependent the output of the method is a Hounsfield unit map, i.e. a substitute for a CT image. It can be converted into an attenuation map using conventional clinical procedure.

Obviating the use of CT would reduce the number of examinations that patients have to endure during preparation for radiotherapy. It would also permit PET attenuation correction to be performed on images from the new imaging modality that combines PET and MRI in one scanner – PET/MR.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2014. 78 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1675
Keyword
magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography substitute, ultrashort echo time, parallel imaging, radial imaging
National Category
Physical Sciences
Research subject
radiofysik
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-93053 (URN)978-91-7601-138-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2014-12-05, Hörsal Betula, Unod L 0, Byggnad 6M, Norrlands universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2014-11-14 Created: 2014-09-11 Last updated: 2014-11-13Bibliographically approved

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