Effect of MRI acquisition acceleration via compressed sensing and parallel imaging on brain volumetry

MAGMA. 2021 Aug;34(4):487-497. doi: 10.1007/s10334-020-00906-9. Epub 2021 Jan 27.


Objectives: To investigate the effect of compressed SENSE (CS), an acceleration technique combining parallel imaging and compressed sensing, on potential bias and precision of brain volumetry and evaluate it in the context of normative brain volumetry.

Materials and methods: In total, 171 scans from scan-rescan experiments on three healthy subjects were analyzed. Each subject received 3D-T1-weighted brain MRI scans at increasing degrees of acceleration (CS-factor = 1/4/8/12/16/20/32). Single-scan acquisition times ranged from 00:41 min (CS-factor = 32) to 21:52 min (CS-factor = 1). Brain segmentation and volumetry was performed using two different software tools: md.brain, a proprietary software based on voxel-based morphometry, and FreeSurfer, an open-source software based on surface-based morphometry. Four sub-volumes were analyzed: brain parenchyma (BP), total gray matter, total white matter, and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Coefficient of variation (CoV) of the repeated measurements as a measure of intra-subject reliability was calculated. Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) with regard to increasing CS-factor was calculated as another measure of reliability. Noise-to-contrast ratio as a measure of image quality was calculated for each dataset to analyze the association between acceleration factor, noise and volumetric brain measurements.

Results: For all sub-volumes, there is a systematic bias proportional to the CS-factor which is dependent on the utilized software and subvolume. Measured volumes deviated significantly from the reference standard (CS-factor = 1), e.g. ranging from 1 to 13% for BP. The CS-induced systematic bias is driven by increased image noise. Except for CSF, reliability of brain volumetry remains high, demonstrated by low CoV (< 1% for CS-factor up to 20) and good to excellent ICC for CS-factor up to 12.

Conclusion: CS-acceleration has a systematic biasing effect on volumetric brain measurements.

Keywords: Acceleration; Brain; Magnetic resonance imaging; Systematic bias.

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration*
  • Adult
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebrospinal Fluid / diagnostic imaging
  • Female
  • Gray Matter / diagnostic imaging
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / standards
  • Male
  • Neuroimaging
  • Parenchymal Tissue / diagnostic imaging
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • White Matter / diagnostic imaging