Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) involves data acquisitions at multiple b values. In this paper, we presented a method of selecting the b values that maximize estimation precision of the biexponential analysis of renal DWI data. We developed an error propagation factor for the biexponential model, and proposed to optimize the b-value samplings by minimizing the error propagation factor. A prospective study of four healthy human subjects (eight kidneys) was done to verify the feasibility of the proposed protocol and to assess the validity of predicted precision for DWI measures, followed by Monte Carlo simulations of DWI signals based on acquired data from renal lesions of 16 subjects. In healthy subjects, the proposed methods improved precision (P = 0.003) and accuracy (P < 0.001) significantly in region-of-interest based biexponential analysis. In Monte Carlo simulation of renal lesions, the b-sampling optimization lowered estimation error by at least 20-30% compared with uniformly distributed b values, and improved the differentiation between malignant and benign lesions significantly. In conclusion, the proposed method has the potential of maximizing the precision and accuracy of the biexponential analysis of renal DWI.
Copyright © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.