Body coil reference for inverse reconstructions of multi-coil data—the case for real-time MRI

Dirk Voit, Oleksandr Kalentev, Jens Frahm


Real-time magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or model-based MRI reconstructions of parametric maps require the solution of an ill-posed nonlinear inverse problem. Respective algorithms, e.g., the iteratively regularized Gauss-Newton method, implicitly combine datasets from multiple receive coils. Because these local coils may exhibit complex sensitivity profiles with rather different phase offsets, the numerical optimization may lead to phase singularities which in turn cause “black holes” in magnitude images. The purpose of this work is to develop a method for inverse reconstructions of multi-coil MRI data which avoids the generation of such spatially selective phase singularities. It is proposed to use volumetric body coil data and start the iterative reconstruction of multi-coil data with a reference image which offers proper phase information. In more detail, inverse reconstructions of multi-coil data are initialized with a complex “seed” image which is obtained by a Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) reconstruction of data from a single body coil element. This is accomplished at no additional cost as only very few body coil scans with identical conditions as the multi-coil acquisitions are needed as part of the regular prep scan period. The method is evaluated for anatomical real-time MRI and model-based phase-contrast flow MRI in real-time at 3 T. The proposed method overcomes phase singularities in all cases for arbitrary sets of receive coils. In conclusion, the automatic use of a single body coil reference image is simple, robust, and further improves the reliability of advanced MRI reconstructions from multi-coil data.