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TOMOGRAPHY, December 2016, Volume 2, Issue 4: 250-259
DOI: 10.18383/j.tom.2016.00133

Bloch-Siegert B₁-Mapping Improves Accuracy and Precision of Longitudinal Relaxation Measurements in the Breast at 3 T

Jennifer G. Whisenant1,2, Richard D. Dortch1,2,3, William Grissom1,2,3, Hakmook Kang4, Lori R. Arlinghaus1,2, and Thomas E. Yankeelov5

1Department of Radiology and Radiological Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee; 2Vanderbilt University Institute of Imaging Science, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee; 3Department of Biomedical Engineering, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee; 4Department of Biostatistics and Center for Quantitative Sciences, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee; and 5Institute for Computational and Engineering Sciences, and the Departments of Biomedical Engineering and Internal Medicine, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas


Variable flip angle (VFA) sequences are a popular method of calculating T1 values, which are required in a quantitative analysis of dynamic contrast-enhanced (DCE) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). B1 inhomogeneities are substantial in the breast at 3 T, and these errors negatively impact the accuracy of the VFA approach, thus leading to large errors in the DCE-MRI parameters that could limit clinical adoption of the technique. This study evaluated the ability of Bloch–Siegert B1 mapping to improve the accuracy and precision of VFA-derived T1 measurements in the breast. Test–retest MRI sessions were performed on 16 women with no history of breast disease. T1 was calculated using the VFA sequence, and B1 field variations were measured using the Bloch–Siegert methodology. As a gold standard, inversion recovery (IR) measurements of T1 were performed. Fibroglandular tissue and adipose tissue from each breast were segmented using the IR images, and the mean T1 was calculated for each tissue. Accuracy was evaluated by percent error (%err). Reproducibility was assessed via the 95% confidence interval (CI) of the mean difference and repeatability coefficient (r). After B1 correction, %err significantly (P < .001) decreased from 17% to 8.6%, and the 95% CI and r decreased from ±94 to ±38 milliseconds and from 276 to 111 milliseconds, respectively. Similar accuracy and reproducibility results were observed in the adipose tissue of the right breast and in both tissues of the left breast. Our data show that Bloch–Siegert B1 mapping improves accuracy and precision of VFA-derived T1 measurements in the breast.

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