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Advanced H-1 Lung Magnetic Resonance Imaging


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the widely used medical imaging modality, since it can provide both structural and functional assessment in a single imaging session.

However, two major challenges should be considered by using MRI for lung imaging. The first challenge is the intrinsic low SNR of H-1 lung MRI due to the low proton density as well as the fast decay of the lung parenchyma signal. And the second challenge is subject motion. To achieve high resolution structural image, MRI requires a long scan time, usually a few minutes or even longer, which make MRI sensitive to subject motion.

To address the first challenge, ultra-short echo time (UTE) MRI sequence is used to capture the lung parenchyma signal before decay.

As for subject motion, two major strategies are widely used. One strategy is fast breath-holding scan, the subjects are asked to hold their breaths for a short duration, and the fast 3D MR sequence would be used to acquire data within that duration. This dissertation proposes a new acquisition scheme based on the standard UTE sequence, which largely increases the encoding efficiency and improves the breath-holding scan images.

The other is free breathing scan with motion correction. The subjects are allowed to breathe during the MR acquisition. After the acquisition, the motion corrupted data would go through the motion correction step to reconstruct the motion free images. In this dissertation, two novel motion corrected reconstruction strategies are proposed to incorporate the motion modeling and compensation into the reconstruction to get high SNR motion corrected 3D and 4D images.

When translating the developed techniques to the clinical studies, specifically for pediatric and neonatal studies, more practical problems need to be considered, such as smaller but finer anatomy to image, the different respiratory patterns of the young subjects etc. This dissertation proposes a 5-minute free breathing UTE MRI strategy to achieve a 3D high resolution motion free lung image for pediatric and neonatal studies.

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