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Invest Radiol. 2011 Dec;46(12):751-8. doi: 10.1097/RLI.0b013e31822438e8.

Low b-value diffusion-weighted cardiac magnetic resonance imaging: initial results in humans using an optimal time-window imaging approach.

Author information

CREATIS, CNRS (UMR 5220), INSERM (U630), INSA de Lyon, Université Claude Bernard-Lyon (UCBL), Lyon, France.



Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) using low b-values permits imaging of intravoxel incoherent motion in tissues. However, low b-value DWI of the human heart has been considered too challenging because of additional signal loss due to physiological motion, which reduces both signal intensity and the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). We address these signal loss concerns by analyzing cardiac motion during a heartbeat to determine the time-window during which cardiac bulk motion is minimal. Using this information to optimize the acquisition of DWI data and combining it with a dedicated image processing approach has enabled us to develop a novel low b-value diffusion-weighted cardiac magnetic resonance imaging approach, which significantly reduces intravoxel incoherent motion measurement bias introduced by motion.


Simulations from displacement encoded motion data sets permitted the delineation of an optimal time-window with minimal cardiac motion. A number of single-shot repetitions of low b-value DWI cardiac magnetic resonance imaging data were acquired during this time-window under free-breathing conditions with bulk physiological motion corrected for by using nonrigid registration. Principal component analysis (PCA) was performed on the registered images to improve the SNR, and temporal maximum intensity projection (TMIP) was applied to recover signal intensity from time-fluctuant motion-induced signal loss. This PCATMIP method was validated with experimental data, and its benefits were evaluated in volunteers before being applied to patients.


Optimal time-window cardiac DWI in combination with PCATMIP postprocessing yielded significant benefits for signal recovery, contrast-to-noise ratio, and SNR in the presence of bulk motion for both numerical simulations and human volunteer studies. Analysis of mean apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) maps showed homogeneous values among volunteers and good reproducibility between free-breathing and breath-hold acquisitions. The PCATMIP DWI approach also indicated its potential utility by detecting ADC variations in acute myocardial infarction patients.


Studying cardiac motion may provide an appropriate strategy for minimizing the impact of bulk motion on cardiac DWI. Applying PCATMIP image processing improves low b-value DWI and enables reliable analysis of ADC in the myocardium. The use of a limited number of repetitions in a free-breathing mode also enables easier application in clinical conditions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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