Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Program

Biomedical Engineering

Supervisor

Terry Peters

Abstract

Due to physical and biological constraints and requirements on the minimum resolution and SNR, the acquisition time is relatively long in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Consequently, a limited number of pulse sequences can be run in a clinical MRI session because of constraints on the total acquisition time due to patient comfort and cost considerations. Therefore, it is strongly desired to reduce the acquisition time without compromising the reconstruction quality. This thesis concerns under-sampled reconstruction techniques for acceleration of MRI acquisitions, i.e., parallel imaging and compressed sensing.

While compressed sensing MRI reconstructions are commonly regularized by penalizing the decimated wavelet transform coefficients, it is shown in this thesis that the visual artifacts, associated with the lack of translation-invariance of the wavelet basis in the decimated form, can be avoided by penalizing the undecimated wavelet transform coefficients, i.e., the stationary wavelet transform (SWT). An iterative SWT thresholding algorithm for combined SWT-regularized compressed sensing and parallel imaging reconstruction is presented. Additionally, it is shown that in MRI applications involving multiple sequential acquisitions, e.g., quantitative T1/T2 mapping, the correlation between the successive acquisitions can be incorporated as an additional constraint for joint under-sampled reconstruction, resulting in improved reconstruction performance.

While quantitative measures of quality, e.g., reconstruction error with respect to the fully-sampled reference, are commonly used for performance evaluation and comparison of under-sampled reconstructions, this thesis shows that such quantitative measures do not necessarily correlate with the subjective quality of reconstruction as perceived by radiologists and other expert end users. Therefore, unless accompanied by subjective evaluations, quantitative quality measurements/comparisons will be of limited clinical impact. The results of experiments aimed at subjective evaluation/comparison of different under-sampled reconstructions for specific clinical neuroimaging MRI applications are presented in this thesis.

One motivation behind the current work was to reduce the acquisition time for relaxation mapping techniques DESPOT1 and DESPOT2. This work also includes a modification to the Driven Equilibrium Single Pulse Observation of T1 with high-speed incorporation of RF field inhomogeneities (DESPOT1-HIFI), resulting in more accurate estimation of T1 values at high strength (3T and higher) magnetic fields.


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