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Magn Reson Imaging. 2005 Jan;23(1):53-60.

Effects of coil dimensions and field polarization on RF heating inside a head phantom.

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College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


Deterioration of radiofrequency (RF) inhomogeneity with increasing static magnetic field in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the fundamental challenges preventing their clinical rendition and posing safety hazards. Variation in RF coil designs could help redistribute RF energy absorption over the imaged object. This work is intended to determine experimentally the difference in RF heating produced within a human head phantom by in situ measurement of RF inhomogeneity as a function of coil design utilized at 8 T. The heating patterns of 1/4 wavelength (long) and 1/8 wavelength 11-cm (short) transverse electromagnetic (TEM) coils loaded with a homogeneous human head phantom at 340 MHz were evaluated. In addition, different transmit/receive (T/R) configurations were used in search for the possibility of "hot-spot" formation. Fluoroptic thermometry was used to measure temperatures in multiple positions in a head phantom made of ground turkey breast for RF powers corresponding to a specific absorption rate (SAR) of 4.0 W/kg for 10 min. Numerical simulations were performed to study the general RF power deposition patterns in phantoms at 340 MHz including the effects of field polarization. The temperature increases varied from 0 to 0.8 degrees C for the long RF coil, while the short RF coil produced a maximum temperature change of 0.5 degrees C. Similar to ultra high-field electromagnetic simulations, these measurements revealed low peripheral and high deep-tissue heating at 8 T. The findings indicated that the largest temperature changes for both cases were less than 1 degrees C. While these results showed an increase in localized heating due to RF pulses at 8 T, they highlight that RF inhomogeneity could be redistributed using different RF coil designs through which the hot spots could be made cooler.

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