A 128-channel receive-only array coil is described and tested for cardiac imaging at 3T. The coil is closely contoured to the body with a "clam-shell" geometry with 68 posterior and 60 anterior elements, each 75 mm in diameter, and arranged in a continuous overlapped array of hexagonal symmetry to minimize nearest neighbor coupling. Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and noise amplification for parallel imaging (G-factor) were evaluated in phantom and volunteer experiments. These results were compared to those of commercially available 24-channel and 32-channel coils in routine use for cardiac imaging. The in vivo measurements with the 128-channel coil resulted in SNR gains compared to the 24-channel coil (up to 2.2-fold in the apex). The 128- and 32-channel coils showed similar SNR in the heart, likely dominated by the similar element diameters of these coils. The maximum G-factor values were up to seven times better for a seven-fold acceleration factor (R=7) compared to the 24-channel coil and up to two-fold improved compared to the 32-channel coil. The ability of the 128-channel coil to facilitate highly accelerated cardiac imaging was demonstrated in four volunteers using acceleration factors up to seven-fold (R=7) in a single spatial dimension.
Copyright (c) 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.