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Journal of applied clinical medical physics [electronic resource] / American College of Medical Physics


Precise radiation therapy (RT) for abdominal lesions is complicated by respiratory motion and suboptimal soft tissue contrast in 4D CT. 4D MRI offers improved con-trast although long scan times and irregular breathing patterns can be limiting. To address this, visual biofeedback (VBF) was introduced into 4D MRI. Ten volunteers were consented to an IRB-approved protocol. Prospective respiratory-triggered, T2-weighted, coronal 4D MRIs were acquired on an open 1.0T MR-SIM. VBF was integrated using an MR-compatible interactive breath-hold control system. Subjects visually monitored their breathing patterns to stay within predetermined tolerances. 4D MRIs were acquired with and without VBF for 2- and 8-phase acquisitions. Normalized respiratory waveforms were evaluated for scan time, duty cycle (programmed/acquisition time), breathing period, and breathing regularity (end-inhale coefficient of variation, EI-COV). Three reviewers performed image quality assessment to compare artifacts with and without VBF. Respiration-induced liver motion was calculated via centroid difference analysis of end-exhale (EE) and EI liver contours. Incorporating VBF reduced 2-phase acquisition time (4.7 ± 1.0 and 5.4 ± 1.5 min with and without VBF, respectively) while reducing EI-COV by 43.8% ± 16.6%. For 8-phase acquisitions, VBF reduced acquisition time by 1.9 ± 1.6 min and EI-COVs by 38.8% ± 25.7% despite breathing rate remaining similar (11.1 ± 3.8 breaths/min with vs. 10.5 ± 2.9 without). Using VBF yielded higher duty cycles than unguided free breathing (34.4% ± 5.8% vs. 28.1% ± 6.6%, respectively). Image grading showed that out of 40 paired evaluations, 20 cases had equivalent and 17 had improved image quality scores with VBF, particularly for mid-exhale and EI. Increased liver excursion was observed with VBF, where superior-inferior, anterior-posterior, and left-right EE-EI displacements were 14.1± 5.8, 4.9 ± 2.1, and 1.5 ± 1.0 mm, respectively, with VBF compared to 11.9 ± 4.5, 3.7 ± 2.1, and 1.2 ± 1.4 mm without. Incorporating VBF into 4D MRI substantially reduced acquisition time, breathing irregularity, and image artifacts. However, differences in excursion were observed, thus implementation will be required throughout the RT workflow.

Medical Subject Headings

Adult; Biofeedback, Psychology; Head; Humans; Image Processing, Computer-Assisted; Liver; Magnetic Resonance Imaging; Middle Aged; Movement; Radiographic Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted; Respiration; Signal-To-Noise Ratio; Visual Perception; Young Adult

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