Purpose: To develop a method that combines parallel imaging and compressed sensing to enable faster and/or higher spatial resolution magnetic resonance (MR) imaging and show its feasibility in a pediatric clinical setting.
Materials and methods: Institutional review board approval was obtained for this HIPAA-compliant study, and informed consent or assent was given by subjects. A pseudorandom k-space undersampling pattern was incorporated into a three-dimensional (3D) gradient-echo sequence; aliasing then has an incoherent noiselike pattern rather than the usual coherent fold-over wrapping pattern. This k-space-sampling pattern was combined with a compressed sensing nonlinear reconstruction method that exploits the assumption of sparsity of medical images to permit reconstruction from undersampled k-space data and remove the noiselike aliasing. Thirty-four patients (15 female and 19 male patients; mean age, 8.1 years; range, 0-17 years) referred for cardiovascular, abdominal, and knee MR imaging were scanned with this 3D gradient-echo sequence at high acceleration factors. Obtained k-space data were reconstructed with both a traditional parallel imaging algorithm and the nonlinear method. Both sets of images were rated for image quality, radiologist preference, and delineation of specific structures by two radiologists. Wilcoxon and symmetry tests were performed to test the hypothesis that there was no significant difference in ratings for image quality, preference, and delineation of specific structures.
Results: Compressed sensing images were preferred more often, had significantly higher image quality ratings, and greater delineation of anatomic structures (P < .001) than did images obtained with the traditional parallel reconstruction method.
Conclusion: A combination of parallel imaging and compressed sensing is feasible in a clinical setting and may provide higher resolution and/or faster imaging, addressing the challenge of delineating anatomic structures in pediatric MR imaging.