Addressing a systematic vibration artifact in diffusion-weighted MRI.
Gallichan D., Scholz J., Bartsch A., Behrens TE., Robson MD., Miller KL.
We have identified and studied a pronounced artifact in diffusion-weighted MRI on a clinical system. The artifact results from vibrations of the patient table due to low-frequency mechanical resonances of the system which are stimulated by the low-frequency gradient switching associated with the diffusion-weighting. The artifact manifests as localized signal-loss in images acquired with partial Fourier coverage when there is a strong component of the diffusion-gradient vector in the left-right direction. This signal loss is caused by local phase ramps in the image domain which shift the apparent k-space center for a particular voxel outside the covered region. The local signal loss masquerades as signal attenuation due to diffusion, severely disrupting the quantitative measures associated with diffusion-tensor imaging (DTI). We suggest a way to improve the interpretation of affected DTI data by including a co-regressor which accounts for the empirical response of regions affected by the artifact. We also demonstrate that the artifact may be avoided by acquiring full k-space data, and that subsequent increases in TE can be avoided by employing parallel acceleration.