J Cardiovasc Magn Reson 2019 Apr 18;21(1):23. Epub 2019 Apr 18.
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 720 Rutland Ave, Suite 726 Ross Building, Baltimore, MD, 21205, USA.
Background: Numerous self-gated cardiac imaging techniques have been reported in the literature. Most can track either cardiac or respiratory motion, and many incur some overhead to imaging data acquisition. We previously described a Cartesian cine imaging technique, pseudo-projection motion tracking with golden-step phase encoding, capable of tracking both cardiac and respiratory motion at no cost to imaging data acquisition. In this work, we describe improvements to the technique by dramatically reducing its vulnerability to eddy current and flow artifacts and demonstrating its effectiveness in expanded cardiovascular applications.
Methods: As with our previous golden-step technique, the Cartesian phase encodes over time were arranged based on the integer golden step, and readouts near k = 0 (pseudo-projections) were used to derive motion. In this work, however, the readouts were divided into equal and consecutive temporal segments, within which the readouts were sorted according to k. The sorting reduces the phase encode jump between consecutive readouts while maintaining the pseudo-randomness of k to sample both cardiac and respiratory motion without comprising the ability to retrospectively set the temporal resolution of the original technique. On human volunteers, free-breathing, electrocardiographic (ECG)-free cine scans were acquired for all slices of the short axis stack and the 4-chamber view of the long axis. Retrospectively, cardiac motion and respiratory motion were automatically extracted from the pseudo-projections to guide cine reconstruction. The resultant image quality in terms of sharpness and cardiac functional metrics was compared against breath-hold ECG-gated reference cines.
Results: With sorting, motion tracking of both cardiac and respiratory motion was effective for all slices orientations imaged, and artifact occurrence due to eddy current and flow was efficiently eliminated. The image sharpness derived from the self-gated cines was found to be comparable to the reference cines (mean difference less than 0.05 mm for short-axis images and 0.075 mm for long-axis images), and the functional metrics (mean difference < 4 ml) were found not to be statistically different from those from the reference.
Conclusions: This technique dramatically reduced the eddy current and flow artifacts while preserving the ability of cost-free motion tracking and the flexibility of choosing arbitrary navigator zone width, number of cardiac phases, and duration of scanning. With the restriction of the artifacts removed, the Cartesian golden-step cine imaging can now be applied to cardiac imaging slices of more diverse orientation and anatomy at greater reliability.