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Keywords:

  • liver;
  • arterial-phase;
  • timing;
  • perfusion;
  • tumor

Abstract

Purpose:

To measure contrast agent enhancement kinetics in the liver and to further evaluate and develop an optimized gadolinium enhanced MRI using a single injection real-time bolus-tracking method for reproducible imaging of the transient arterial-phase.

Materials and Methods:

A total of 18 subjects with hypervascular liver lesions were imaged with four dimensional (4D) perfusion scans to measure time-to-peak (TTP) delays of arterial (aorta-celiac axis), liver parenchyma, liver lesion, portal, and hepatic veins. Time delays were calculated from the TTP-aorta signal, and then related to the gradient echo (GRE) k-space acquisition design, to determine optimized timing for real-time bolus-track triggering methodology. As another measure of significance, 200 clinical patients were imaged with 3D-GRE using either a fixed time-interval or by individualized arterial bolus real-time triggering. Bolus TTP-aorta was calculated and arterial-phase acquisitions were compared for accuracy and reproducibility using specific vascular enhancement indicators.

Results:

The mean bolus transit-time to peak-lesion contrast was 8.1 ± 2.7 seconds following arterial detection, compared to 32.1 ± 5.4 seconds from contrast injection, representing a 62.1% reduction in the time-variability among subjects (N = 18). The real-time bolus-triggered technique more consistently captured the targeted arterial phase (94%), compared to the fixed timing technique (73%), representing an expected improvement of timing accuracy in 28% of patients (P = 0.0001389).

Conclusion:

Our results show detailed timing window analysis required for optimized arterial real-time bolus-triggering acquisition of transient arterial phase features of liver lesions, with optimized arterial triggering expected to improve reproducibility in a significant number of patients. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2011;33:110–118. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.