Phase-matched virtual coil reconstruction for highly accelerated diffusion echo-planar imaging

Neuroimage. 2019 Jul 1;194:291-302. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.04.002. Epub 2019 Apr 3.


Purpose: To propose a virtual coil (VC) acquisition/reconstruction framework to improve highly accelerated single-shot EPI (SS-EPI) and generalized slice dithered enhanced resolution (gSlider) acquisition in high-resolution diffusion imaging (DI).

Methods: For robust VC-GRAPPA reconstruction, a background phase correction scheme was developed to match the image phase of the reference data with the corrupted phase of the accelerated diffusion-weighted data, where the corrupted phase of the diffusion data varies from shot to shot. A Gy prewinding-blip was also added to the EPI acquisition, to create a shifted-ky sampling strategy that allows for better exploitation of VC concept in the reconstruction. To evaluate the performance of the proposed methods, 1.5 mm isotropic whole-brain SS-EPI and 860 μm isotropic whole-brain gSlider-EPI diffusion data were acquired at an acceleration of 8-9 fold. Conventional and VC-GRAPPA reconstructions were performed and compared, and corresponding g-factors were calculated.

Results: The proposed VC reconstruction substantially improves the image quality of both SS-EPI and gSlider-EPI, with reduced g-factor noise and reconstruction artifacts when compared to the conventional method. This has enabled high-quality low-noise diffusion imaging to be performed at 8-9 fold acceleration.

Conclusions: The proposed VC acquisition/reconstruction framework improves the reconstruction of DI at high accelerations. The ability to now employ such high accelerations will allow DI with EPI at reduced distortion and faster scan time, which should be beneficial for many clinical and neuroscience applications.

Keywords: Diffusion imaging; Single-shot EPI; Virtual coil; gSlider.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Echo-Planar Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods*