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A Regional Bolus Tracking and Real-time B$_1$ Calibration Method for Hyperpolarized $^{13}$C MRI

  • Tang, Shuyu
  • Milshteyn, Eugene
  • Reed, Galen
  • Gordon, Jeremy
  • Bok, Robert
  • Zhu, Xucheng
  • Zhu, Zihan
  • Vigneron, Daniel B.
  • Larson, Peder E. Z.
Published Article
Publication Date
Aug 20, 2020
Submission Date
Aug 20, 2020
DOI: 10.1002/mrm.27391
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Purpose: Acquisition timing and B$_1$ calibration are two key factors that affect the quality and accuracy of hyperpolarized $^{13}$C MRI. The goal of this project was to develop a new approach using regional bolus tracking to trigger Bloch-Siegert B$_1$ mapping and real-time B$_1$ calibration based on regional B$_1$ measurements, followed by dynamic imaging of hyperpolarized $^{13}C$ metabolites in vivo. Methods: The proposed approach was implemented on a system which allows real-time data processing and real-time control on the sequence. Real-time center frequency calibration upon the bolus arrival was also added. The feasibility of applying the proposed framework for in vivo hyperpolarized $^{13}$C imaging was tested on healthy rats, tumor-bearing mice and a healthy volunteer on a clinical 3T scanner following hyperpolarized [1-$^{13}$C]pyruvate injection. Multichannel receive coils were used in the human study. Results: Automatic acquisition timing based on either regional bolus peak or bolus arrival was achieved with the proposed framework. Reduced blurring artifacts in real-time reconstructed images were observed with real-time center frequency calibration. Real-time computed B$_1$ scaling factors agreed with real-time acquired B$_1$ maps. Flip angle correction using B$_1$ maps results in a more consistent quantification of metabolic activity (i.e, pyruvate-to-lactate conversion, k$_{PL}$). Experiment recordings are provided to demonstrate the real-time actions during the experiment. Conclusion: The proposed method was successfully demonstrated on animals and a human volunteer, and is anticipated to improve the efficient use of the hyperpolarized signal as well as the accuracy and robustness of hyperpolarized $^{13}$C imaging.

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