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3D magnetic resonance fingerprinting on a low-field 50 mT point-of-care system prototype: evaluation of muscle and lipid relaxation time mapping and comparison with standard techniques.

Magma 2023 May 19
OBJECTIVE: To implement magnetic resonance fingerprinting (MRF) on a permanent magnet 50 mT low-field system deployable as a future point-of-care (POC) unit and explore the quality of the parameter maps.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: 3D MRF was implemented on a custom-built Halbach array using a slab-selective spoiled steady-state free precession sequence with 3D Cartesian readout. Undersampled scans were acquired with different MRF flip angle patterns and reconstructed using matrix completion and matched to the simulated dictionary, taking excitation profile and coil ringing into account. MRF relaxation times were compared to that of inversion recovery (IR) and multi-echo spin echo (MESE) experiments in phantom and in vivo. Furthermore, B0 inhomogeneities were encoded in the MRF sequence using an alternating TE pattern, and the estimated map was used to correct for image distortions in the MRF images using a model-based reconstruction.

RESULTS: Phantom relaxation times measured with an optimized MRF sequence for low field were in better agreement with reference techniques than for a standard MRF sequence. In vivo muscle relaxation times measured with MRF were longer than those obtained with an IR sequence (T1 : 182 ± 21.5 vs 168 ± 9.89 ms) and with an MESE sequence (T2 : 69.8 ± 19.7 vs 46.1 ± 9.65 ms). In vivo lipid MRF relaxation times were also longer compared with IR (T1 : 165 ± 15.1 ms vs 127 ± 8.28 ms) and with MESE (T2 : 160 ± 15.0 ms vs 124 ± 4.27 ms). Integrated ΔB0 estimation and correction resulted in parameter maps with reduced distortions.

DISCUSSION: It is possible to measure volumetric relaxation times with MRF at 2.5 × 2.5 × 3.0 mm3 resolution in a 13 min scan time on a 50 mT permanent magnet system. The measured MRF relaxation times are longer compared to those measured with reference techniques, especially for T2 . This discrepancy can potentially be addressed by hardware, reconstruction and sequence design, but long-term reproducibility needs to be further improved.

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