AUTHORS: Roy CW, Heerfordt J, Piccini D, Rossi G, Pavon AG, Schwitter J, Stuber M

Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance, 23(1): 33, March 2021



Radial self-navigated (RSN) whole-heart coronary cardiovascular magnetic resonance angiography (CCMRA) is a free-breathing technique that estimates and corrects for respiratory motion. However, RSN has been limited to a 1D rigid correction which is often insufficient for patients with complex respiratory patterns. The goal of this work is therefore to improve the robustness and quality of 3D radial CCMRA by incorporating both 3D motion information and nonrigid intra-acquisition correction of the data into a framework called focused navigation (fNAV).


We applied fNAV to 500 data sets from a numerical simulation, 22 healthy subjects, and 549 cardiac patients. In each of these cohorts we compared fNAV to RSN and respiratory resolved extradimensional golden-angle radial sparse parallel (XD-GRASP) reconstructions of the same data. Reconstruction times for each method were recorded. Motion estimate accuracy was measured as the correlation between fNAV and ground truth for simulations, and fNAV and image registration for in vivo data. Percent vessel sharpness was measured in all simulated data sets and healthy subjects, and a subset of patients. Finally, subjective image quality analysis was performed by a blinded expert reviewer who chose the best image for each in vivo data set and scored on a Likert scale 0–4 in a subset of patients by two reviewers in consensus.


The reconstruction time for fNAV images was significantly higher than RSN (6.1 ± 2.1 min vs 1.4 ± 0.3, min, p < 0.025) but significantly lower than XD-GRASP (25.6 ± 7.1, min, p < 0.025). Overall, there is high correlation between the fNAV and reference displacement estimates across all data sets (0.73 ± 0.29). For simulated data, healthy subjects, and patients, fNAV lead to significantly sharper coronary arteries than all other reconstruction methods (p < 0.01). Finally, in a blinded evaluation by an expert reviewer fNAV was chosen as the best image in 444 out of 571 data sets (78%; p < 0.001) and consensus grades of fNAV images (2.6 ± 0.6) were significantly higher (p < 0.05) than uncorrected (1.7 ± 0.7), RSN (1.9 ± 0.6), and XD-GRASP (1.8 ± 0.8).


fNAV is a promising technique for improving the quality of RSN free-breathing 3D whole-heart CCMRA. This novel approach to respiratory self-navigation can derive 3D nonrigid motion estimations from an acquired 1D signal yielding statistically significant improvement in image sharpness relative to 1D translational correction as well as XD-GRASP reconstructions. Further study of the diagnostic impact of this technique is therefore warranted to evaluate its full clinical utility.

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