Purpose: To develop and evaluate a local frequency shift (LFS) mapping method specifically designed for multi-echo acquisitions and multi-channel receive coils.
Methods: The proposed method uses the pixel-by-pixel inter-echo variance (IEV) as a weighting factor during channel-combination. Five healthy volunteers were scanned at 7 T. The IEV-weighted method was quantitatively compared to established (adaptive and Hermitian product) channel-combination methods with respect to IEV of LFS over the entire brain.
Results: In all experiments, the IEV-weighted method generated LFS maps free of artifacts caused by unwrapping errors. Based on measurements of the inter-echo frequency variance throughout the whole brain, the IEV-weighted method produced the lowest variation and the best contrast at the edge of the brain.
Conclusion: The primary finding of the present study is that accurate LFS maps are achievable if the data from each channel is processed independently prior to combination followed by a weighted combination using IEV as the weighting term. The software is freely available to the scientific community.
Keywords: channel-combination; inter-echo variance; local frequency shift mapping; multi-echo; phase unwrapping error.
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.