Quantitation of MRI sensitivity to Quasi-monodisperse microbubble contrast agents for spatially resolved manometry
The direct in-vivo measurement of fluid pressure cannot be achieved with MRI unless it is done with the contribution of a contrast agent. No such contrast agents are currently available commercially, whilst those demonstrated previously only produced qualitative results due to their broad size distribution. Our aim is to quantitate then model the MR sensitivity to the presence of quasi-monodisperse microbubble populations.
Lipid stabilised microbubble populations with mean radius 1.2 ± 0.8 μm have been produced by mechanical agitation. Contrast agents with increasing volume fraction of bubbles up to 4% were formed and the contribution the bubbles bring to the relaxation rate was quantitated. A periodic pressure change was also continuously applied to the same contrast agent, until MR signal changes were only due to bubble radius change and not due to a change in bubble density.
The MR data compared favourably with the prediction of an improved numerical simulation. An excellent MR sensitivity of 23 % bar-1 has been demonstrated.
This work opens up the possibility of generating microbubble preparations tailored to specific applications with optimised MR sensitivity, in particular MRI based in-vivo manometry. Magn Reson Med 70:1409–1418, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.