Optimized radiofrequency coil setup for MR examination of living isolated rat hearts in a horizontal 9.4T magnet.
Lohezic M., Bollensdorff C., Korn M., Lanz T., Grau V., Kohl P., Schneider JE.
PURPOSE: (i) To optimize an MR-compatible organ perfusion setup for the nondestructive investigation of isolated rat hearts by placing the radiofrequency (RF) coil inside the perfusion chamber; (ii) to characterize the benefit of this system for diffusion tensor imaging and proton ((1) H-) MR spectroscopy. METHODS: Coil quality assessment was conducted both on the bench, and in the magnet. The benefit of the new RF-coil was quantified by measuring signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), accuracy, and precision of diffusion tensor imaging/error in metabolite amplitude estimation, and compared to an RF-coil placed externally to the perfusion chamber. RESULTS: The new design provided a 59% gain in signal-to-noise ratio on a fixed rat heart compared to using an external resonator, which found reflection in an improvement of living heart data quality, compared to previous external resonator studies. This resulted in 14-29% improvement in accuracy and precision of diffusion tensor imaging. The Cramer-Rao lower bounds for metabolite amplitude estimations were up to 5-fold smaller. CONCLUSION: Optimization of MR-compatible perfusion equipment advances the study of rat hearts with improved signal-to-noise ratio performance, and thus improved accuracy/precision.