Magnetic resonance physics
Monitoring local heating around an interventional MRI antenna with RF radiometry
Radiofrequency (RF) radiometry uses thermal noise detected by an antenna to measure the temperature of objects independent of medical imaging technologies such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Here, an active interventional MRI antenna can be deployed as a RF radiometer to measure local heating, as a possible new method of monitoring device safety and thermal therapy.
A 128 MHz radiometer receiver was fabricated to measure the RF noise voltage from an interventional 3 T MRI loopless antenna and calibrated for temperature in a uniformly heated bioanalogous gel phantom. Local heating (ΔT) was induced using the antenna for RF transmission and measured by RF radiometry, fiber-optic thermal sensors, and MRI thermometry. The spatial thermal sensitivity of the antenna radiometer was numerically computed using a method-of-moment electric field analyses. The gel's thermal conductivity was measured by MRI thermometry, and the localized time-dependent ΔT distribution computed from the bioheat transfer equation and compared with radiometry measurements. A “H-factor” relating the 1 g-averaged ΔT to the radiometric temperature was introduced to estimate peak temperature rise in the antenna's sensitive region.
The loopless antenna radiometer linearly tracked temperature inside a thermally equilibrated phantom up to 73 °C to within ±0.3 °C at a 2 Hz sample rate. Computed and MRI thermometric measures of peak ΔT agreed within 13%. The peak 1 g-average temperature was H = 1.36 ± 0.02 times higher than the radiometric temperature for any media with a thermal conductivity of 0.15–0.50 (W/m)/K, indicating that the radiometer can measure peak 1 g-averaged ΔT in physiologically relevant tissue within ±0.4 °C.
Active internal MRI detectors can serve as RF radiometers at the MRI frequency to provide accurate independent measures of local and peak temperature without the artifacts that can accompany MRI thermometry or the extra space needed to accommodate alternative thermal transducers. A RF radiometer could be integrated in a MRI scanner to permit “self-monitoring” for assuring device safety and/or monitoring delivery of thermal therapy.