A fast volumetric 4D-MRI with sub-second frame rate for abdominal motion monitoring and characterization in MRI-guided radiotherapy

Jing Yuan, Oi Lei Wong, Yihang Zhou, Kin Yin Chueng, Siu Ki Yu


Background: To propose a fast volumetric 4D-MRI based on 3D pulse sequence acquisition for abdominal motion monitoring and characterization in MRI-guided radiotherapy (MRgRT).
Methods: A 3D spoiled gradient echo sequence volumetric interpolated breath-hold examination (VIBE) [repetition time/echo time (TR/TE) =0.53/1.57 ms, flip-angle =5°, receiver bandwidth (RBW) =1,400 Hz/voxel] based 4D-MRI acquisition, accelerated by 4-fold controlled aliasing in parallel imaging results in higher acceleration (CAIPIRINHA), named CAIPIRINHA-VIBE 4D-MRI, was implemented on a 1.5T MRI simulator (MR-sim) and applied for abdominal imaging of nine healthy volunteers under free breathing. One hundred and forty-four dynamics of the entire abdomen volume (56 slices), in total 8,064 (144×56) images with a voxel size of 2.7×2.7×4.0 mm3, were acquired in 89 s for 4D-MRI. This CAIPIRINHAVIBE 4D-MRI was qualitatively compared with a 2D half-Fourier acquisition single-shot turbo spinecho (2D-HASTE) based 4D-MRI. The motions of liver dome, kidney and spleen were analyzed using the CAIPIRINHA-VIBE 4D-MRI data. The kidney motion was quantitatively characterized in terms of motion range and the correlations between left and right kidneys.
Results: CAIPIRINHA-VIBE 4D-MRI was successfully conducted in all subjects. CAIPIRINHA-VIBE 4D-MRI exhibited much higher effective volumetric temporal resolution (0.615 vs. ~5 s/volume) and better reconstructed volume consistency than 2D-HASTE 4D-MRI. CAIPIRINHA-VIBE 4D-MRI was able to characterize the respiratory motion of abdominal organs simultaneously in three orthogonal directions, and could potentially be used for whole abdomen deformable motion tracking. Renal motion range was most pronounced in superior-inferior (SI) direction (L: 10.03±2.65 mm; R: 10.38±2.80 mm), significantly larger (P<0.001) than that in anterior-posterior (AP) and the least in left-right (LR) directions. Right kidney had significantly larger mobility (4.18±2.19 vs. 2.32±1.34 mm, P=0.045) than left kidney in AP, but not in LR and SI directions. The Pearson correlation coefficients r between left and right kidney motion were 0.5063 (P=0.164), 0.6624 (P=0.052) and 0.5752 (P=0.105) in LR, AP and SI correspondingly. The correlation of renal motion in SI and AP was found significant in right kidney (r=0.843, P=0.004) but not in left kidney (r=0.467, P=0.205).
Conclusions: A fast volumetric 4D-MRI was implemented for abdominal motion monitoring in MRgRT. A sub-second volumetric temporal resolution of 0.615 s, covering the entire abdomen, was demonstrated for respiratory motion monitoring and characterization. This technique holds potentials for MRgRT applications.