Characterization of Regional Left Ventricular Function in Nonhuman Primates Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging Biomarkers: A Test-Retest Repeatability and Inter-Subject Variability Study
PURPOSE This study presents and validates a novel (non-ECG-triggered) MRI sequence based on spatial modulation of the magnetization (SPAMM) to noninvasively measure 3D (quasistatic) soft tissue deformations using only six acquisitions (three static and three indentations). In the current SPAMM tagged MRI approaches, data are typically constructed from many repeated motion cycles. This has so far restricted its application to the measurement of highly repeatable and periodic movements (e.g., cardiac deformation). In biomechanical applications where soft tissue deformation is artificially induced, often by indentation, significant repeatability constraints exist, and for clinical applications, discomfort and health issues generally preclude a large number of repetitions. METHODS A novel (non-ECG-triggered) SPAMM tagged MRI sequence is presented, whereby a single 1-1 (first order) SPAMM set is acquired following a 3D transient field echo acquisition. Full 3D deformation measurement is achieved through the combination of only six acquisitions (three static and three motion cycles). The 3D deformation measurements were validated using quasistatic indentation tests and marker tracking in a silicone gel soft tissue phantom. In addition, the technique's ability to measure 3D soft tissue deformation in vivo was evaluated using indentation of the biceps region of the upper arm in a volunteer. RESULTS Following comparison to marker tracking in the silicone gel phantom, the SPAMM tagged MRI based displacement measurement demonstrated subvoxel accuracy with a mean displacement difference of 72 microm and a standard deviation of 289 microm. In addition, precision of displacement magnitude was evaluated for both the phantom and the volunteer data. The standard deviations of the displacement magnitude with respect to the average displacement magnitude were 75 and 169 microm for the phantom and volunteer data, respectively. CONCLUSIONS The subvoxel accuracy and precision demonstrated in the phantom in combination with the precision comparison between the phantom and the volunteer data provide confidence in the methods presented for measurement of soft tissue deformation in vivo. To the author's knowledge, since only six acquisitions are required, the presented methodology is the fastest SPAMM tagged MRI method currently available for the noninvasive measurement of quasistatic 3D soft tissue deformation.