Clinical applications at ultrahigh field (7 T). Where does it make the difference?

Siegfried Trattnig, Wolfgang Bogner, Stephan Gruber, Pavol Szomolanyi, Vladimir Juras, Simon Robinson, Štefan Zbýň, Stefan Haneder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Presently, three major MR vendors provide commercial 7-T units for clinical research under ethical permission, with the number of operating 7-T systems having increased to over 50. This rapid increase indicates the growing interest in ultrahigh-field MRI because of improved clinical results with regard to morphological as well as functional and metabolic capabilities. As the signal-to-noise ratio scales linearly with the field strength (B0) of the scanner, the most obvious application at 7 T is to obtain higher spatial resolution in the brain, musculoskeletal system and breast. Of specific clinical interest for neuro-applications is the cerebral cortex at 7 T, for the detection of changes in cortical structure as a sign of early dementia, as well as for the visualization of cortical microinfarcts and cortical plaques in multiple sclerosis. In the imaging of the hippocampus, even subfields of the internal hippocampal anatomy and pathology can be visualized with excellent resolution. The dynamic and static blood oxygenation level-dependent contrast increases linearly with the field strength, which significantly improves the pre-surgical evaluation of eloquent areas before tumor removal. Using susceptibility-weighted imaging, the plaque–vessel relationship and iron accumulation in multiple sclerosis can be visualized for the first time. Multi-nuclear clinical applications, such as sodium imaging for the evaluation of repair tissue quality after cartilage transplantation and 31P spectroscopy for the differentiation between non-alcoholic benign liver disease and potentially progressive steatohepatitis, are only possible at ultrahigh fields. Although neuro- and musculoskeletal imaging have already demonstrated the clinical superiority of ultrahigh fields, whole-body clinical applications at 7 T are still limited, mainly because of the lack of suitable coils. The purpose of this article was therefore to review the clinical studies that have been performed thus far at 7 T, compared with 3 T, as well as those studies performed at 7 T that cannot be routinely performed at 3 T.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1316-1334
Number of pages19
JournalNMR in biomedicine
Volume29
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • 7 T
  • 7-T multi-nuclear spectroscopy and imaging
  • 7-T neurological applications
  • 7-T whole-body applications
  • clinical 7-T studies
  • comparison studies 7 T versus 3 T
  • improved diagnosis for patients at 7 T
  • ultrahigh-field MR

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