MRI-based quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) and R2* mapping of liver iron overload: Comparison with SQUID-based biomagnetic liver susceptometry

Magn Reson Med. 2017 Jul;78(1):264-270. doi: 10.1002/mrm.26358. Epub 2016 Aug 11.


Purpose: We aimed to determine the agreement between quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM)-based biomagnetic liver susceptometry (BLS) and confounder-corrected R2* mapping with superconducting quantum interference device (SQUID)-based biomagnetic liver susceptometry in patients with liver iron overload.

Methods: Data were acquired from two healthy controls and 22 patients undergoing MRI and SQUID-BLS as part of routine monitoring for iron overload. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed on a 3T system using a three-dimensional multi-echo gradient-echo acquisition. Both magnetic susceptibility and R2* of the liver were estimated from this acquisition. Linear regression was used to compare estimates of QSM-BLS and R2* to SQUID-BLS.

Results: Both QSM-BLS and confounder-corrected R2* were sensitive to the presence of iron in the liver. Linear regression between QSM-BLS and SQUID-BLS demonstrated the following relationship: QSM-BLS = (-0.22 ± 0.11) + (0.49 ± 0.05) · SQUID-BLS with r2 = 0.88. The coefficient of determination between liver R2* and SQUID-BLS was also r2 = 0.88.

Conclusion: We determined a strong correlation between both QSM-BLS and confounder-corrected R2* to SQUID-BLS. This study demonstrates the feasibility of QSM-BLS and confounder-corrected R2* for assessing liver iron overload, particularly when SQUID systems are not accessible. Magn Reson Med 78:264-270, 2017. © 2016 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.

Keywords: R2* mapping; SQUID; liver iron overload; magnetic susceptibility; quantitative susceptibility mapping.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Iron / metabolism*
  • Iron Overload / diagnostic imaging*
  • Iron Overload / metabolism*
  • Liver Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Liver Diseases / metabolism*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Imaging / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Young Adult


  • Iron