Purpose: To develop a method for slice-wise dynamic distortion correction for EPI using rapid spatiotemporal B0 field measurements from FID navigators (FIDnavs) and to evaluate the efficacy of this new approach relative to an established data-driven technique.
Methods: A low-resolution reference image was used to create a forward model of FIDnav signal changes to enable estimation of spatiotemporal B0 inhomogeneity variations up to second order from measured FIDnavs. Five volunteers were scanned at 3 T using a 64-channel coil with FID-navigated EPI. The accuracy of voxel shift measurements and geometric distortion correction was assessed for experimentally induced magnetic field perturbations. The temporal SNR was evaluated in EPI time-series acquired at rest and with a continuous nose-touching action, before and after image realignment.
Results: Field inhomogeneity coefficients and voxel shift maps measured using FIDnavs were in excellent agreement with multi-echo EPI measurements. The FID-navigated distortion correction accurately corrected image geometry in the presence of induced magnetic field perturbations, outperforming the data-driven approach in regions with large field offsets. In functional MRI scans with nose touching, FIDnav-based correction yielded temporal SNR gains of 30% in gray matter. Following image realignment, which accounted for global image shifts, temporal SNR gains of 3% were achieved.
Conclusions: Our proposed application of FIDnavs enables slice-wise dynamic distortion correction with high temporal efficiency. We achieved improved signal stability by leveraging the encoding information from multichannel coils. This approach can be easily adapted to other EPI-based sequences to improve temporal SNR for a variety of clinical and research applications.
Keywords: B0 inhomogeneity; EPI artifacts; FID navigators; dynamic distortion correction; field map; functional MRI.
© 2020 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.