Tracking brain motion during the cardiac cycle using spiral cine-DENSE MRI



Cardiac-synchronized brain motion is well documented, but the accurate measurement of such motion on the pixel-by-pixel basis has been hampered by the lack of proper imaging technique. In this article, the authors present the implementation of an autotracking spiral cine displacement-encoded stimulation echo (DENSE) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique for the measurement of pulsatile brain motion during the cardiac cycle. Displacement-encoded dynamic MR images of three healthy volunteers were acquired throughout the cardiac cycle using the spiral cine-DENSE pulse sequence gated to the R wave of an electrocardiogram. Pixelwise Lagrangian displacement maps were computed, and 2D displacement as a function of time was determined for selected regions of interests. Different intracranial structures exhibited characteristic motion amplitude, direction, and pattern throughout the cardiac cycle. Time-resolved displacement curves revealed the pathway of pulsatile motion from brain stem to peripheral brain lobes. These preliminary results demonstrated that the spiral cine-DENSE MRI technique can be used to measure cardiac-synchronized pulsatile brain motion on the pixel-by-pixel basis with high temporal/spatial resolution and sensitivity.