Purpose: Spatially-tailored (RF) excitation pulses in echo-planar imaging (EPI), combined with a decreased FOV in the phase-encoding direction, enable a reduction of k-space acquisition lines, which shortens the echo train length (ETL) and reduces susceptibility artifacts. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the image quality of a zoomed EPI (z-EPI) sequence in diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) of the prostate in comparison to a conventional single-shot EPI using single-channel (c-EPI1) and multi-channel (c-EPI2) RF excitation, with and without use of an endorectal coil.
Materials and methods: 33 consecutive patients (mean age: 61 +/- 9 years; mean PSA: 8.67±6.23 ng/ml) with examinations between 10/2012 and 02/2014 were analyzed in this retrospective study. In 26 of 33 patients the initial multiparametric (mp)-MRI was performed on a whole-body 3T scanner (Magnetom Trio, Siemens, Erlangen, Germany) using an endorectal coil (c (conventional)-EPI1). Zoomed-EPI (Z-EPI) examinations of these patients and a complete mp-MRI protocol including c-EPI2 of 7 additional patients were carried out on another 3T wb MR scanner with two-channel dynamic parallel transmit capability (Magnetom Skyra with TimTX TrueShape, Siemens). For z-EPI, the one-dimensional spatially selective RF excitation pulse was replaced by a two-dimensional RF pulse. Degree of image blur and susceptibility artifacts (0=not present to 3= non-diagnostic), maximum image distortion (mm), apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values, as well as overall scan preference were evaluated. SNR maps were generated to compare c-EPI2 and z-EPI.
Results: Overall image quality of z-EPI was preferred by both readers in all examinations with a single exception. Susceptibility artifacts were rated significantly lower on z-EPI compared to both other methods (z-EPI vs c-EPI1: p<0.01; z-EPI vs c-EPI2: p<0.01) as well as image blur (z-EPI vs c-EPI1: p<0.01; z-EPI vs c-EPI2: p<0.01). Image distortion was not statistically significantly reduced with z-EPI (z-EPI vs c-EPI1: p=0.12; z-EPI vs c-EPI2: p=0.42). Interobserver agreement for ratings of susceptibility artifacts, image blur and overall scan preference was good. SNR was higher for z-EPI than for c-EPI1 (n=1).
Conclusion: Z-EPI leads to significant improvements in image quality and artifacts as well as image blur reduction improving prostate DWI and enabling accurate fusion with conventional sequences. The improved fusion could lead to advantages in the field of MRI-guided biopsy suspicous lesions and performance of locally ablative procedures for prostate cancer.
Keywords: Diffusion-weighted Imaging; Diffusionsgewichtete Bildgebung; Prostata; Prostate; Zoomed.
Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier GmbH.