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Invest Radiol. 2019 Feb 1. doi: 10.1097/RLI.0000000000000546. [Epub ahead of print]

The Impact of Echo Time Shifts and Temporal Signal Fluctuations on BOLD Sensitivity in Presurgical Planning at 7 T.

Author information

1
Department of Medical Physics and Biomedical Engineering, University College London, London, United Kingdom.
2
CD Laboratory for Clinical Molecular MR Imaging, Vienna.
3
Study Group Clinical fMRI, Department of Neurology, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna.
4
Institute of Psychology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Gradients in the static magnetic field caused by tissues with differing magnetic susceptibilities lead to regional variations in the effective echo time, which modifies both image signal and BOLD sensitivity. Local echo time changes are not considered in the most commonly used metric for BOLD sensitivity, temporal signal-to-noise ratio (tSNR), but may be significant, particularly at ultrahigh field close to air cavities (such as the sinuses and ear canals) and near gross brain pathologies and postoperative sites.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

We have studied the effect of local variations in echo time and tSNR on BOLD sensitivity in 3 healthy volunteers and 11 patients with tumors, postoperative cavities, and venous malformations at 7 T. Temporal signal-to-noise ratio was estimated from a 5-minute run of resting state echo planar imaging with a nominal echo time of 22 milliseconds. Maps of local echo time were derived from the phase of a multiecho GE scan. One healthy volunteer performed 10 runs of a breath-hold task. The t-map from this experiment served as a criterion standard BOLD sensitivity measure. Two runs of a less demanding breath-hold paradigm were used for patients.

RESULTS:

In all subjects, a strong reduction in the echo time (from 22 milliseconds to around 11 milliseconds) was found close to the ear canals and sinuses. These regions were characterized by high tSNR but low t-values in breath-hold t-maps. In some patients, regions of particular interest in presurgical planning were affected by reductions in the echo time to approximately 13-15 milliseconds. These included the primary motor cortex, Broca's area, and auditory cortex. These regions were characterized by high tSNR values (70 and above). Breath-hold results were corrupted by strong motion artifacts in all patients.

CONCLUSIONS:

Criterion standard BOLD sensitivity estimation using hypercapnic experiments is challenging, especially in patient populations. Taking into consideration the tSNR, commonly used for BOLD sensitivity estimation, but ignoring local reductions in the echo time (eg, from 22 to 11 milliseconds), would erroneously suggest functional sensitivity sufficient to map BOLD signal changes. It is therefore important to consider both local variations in the echo time and temporal variations in signal, using the product metric of these two indices for instance. This should ensure a reliable estimation of BOLD sensitivity and to facilitate the identification of potential false-negative results. This is particularly true at high fields, such as 7 T and in patients with large pathologies and postoperative cavities.This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 (CCBY), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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