A field-monitoring-based approach for correcting eddy-current-induced artifacts of up to the 2nd spatial order in human-connectome-project-style multiband diffusion MRI experiment at 7T: A pilot study

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Abstract

Over the recent years, significant advances in Spin-Echo (SE) Echo-Planar (EP) Diffusion MRI (dMRI) have enabled improved fiber tracking conspicuity in the human brain. At the same time, pushing the spatial resolution and using higher b-values inherently expose the acquired images to further eddy-current-induced distortion and blurring. Recently developed data-driven correction techniques, capable of significantly mitigating these defects, are included in the reconstruction pipelines developed for the Human Connectome Project (HCP) driven by the NIH BRAIN initiative. In this case, however, corrections are derived from the original diffusion-weighted (DW) magnitude images affected by distortion and blurring. Considering the complexity of k-space deviations in the presence of time varying high spatial order eddy currents, distortion and blurring may not be fully reversed when relying on magnitude DW images only. An alternative approach, consisting of iteratively reconstructing DW images based on the actual magnetic field spatiotemporal evolution measured with a magnetic field monitoring camera, has been successfully implemented at 3T in single band dMRI (Wilm et al., 2017, 2015). In this study, we aim to demonstrate the efficacy of this eddy current correction method in the challenging context of HCP-style multiband (MB ​= ​2) dMRI protocol. The magnetic field evolution was measured during the EP-dMRI readout echo train with a field monitoring camera equipped with 16 19F NMR probes. The time variation of 0th, 1st and 2nd order spherical field harmonics were used to reconstruct DW images. Individual DW images reconstructed with and without field correction were compared. The impact of eddy current correction was evaluated by comparing the corresponding direction-averaged DW images and fractional anisotropy (FA) maps. 19F field monitoring data confirmed the existence of significant field deviations induced by the diffusion-encoding gradients, with variations depending on diffusion gradient amplitude and direction. In DW images reconstructed with the field correction, residual aliasing artifacts were reduced or eliminated, and when high b-values were applied, better gray/white matter delineation and sharper gyri contours were observed, indicating reduced signal blurring. The improvement in image quality further contributed to sharper contours and better gray/white matter delineation in mean DW images and FA maps. In conclusion, we demonstrate that up-to-2nd-order-eddy-current-induced field perturbation in multiband, in-plane accelerated HCP-style dMRI acquisition at 7T can be corrected by integrating the measured field evolution in image reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116861
JournalNeuroImage
Volume216
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2020

Keywords

  • Diffusion MRI
  • Eddy current correction
  • Field correction
  • Field monitoring
  • Human connectome project

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