The challenge of bias-free coil combination for quantitative susceptibility mapping at ultra-high field

Research paper by Steffen Bollmann, Simon Daniel Robinson, Kieran O'Brien, Viktor Vegh, Andrew Janke, Lars Marstaller, David Reutens, Markus Barth

Indexed on: 02 Mar '17Published on: 01 Mar '17Published in: Magnetic Resonance in Medicine


Quantitative susceptibility mapping is a technique to estimate the magnetic property of tissue with particularly high sensitivity at ultra-high field. However, a key challenge at ultra-high field is the combination of phase data acquired using phased array receive coils. Several methods for combining phase data have been proposed, but the influence of coil combination choices on susceptibility quantitation has not been studied systematically.We combined phase data using COMPOSER (COMbining Phase data using a Short Echo-time Reference scan) and a reference-free channel-by-channel method. We investigated the effect of the chosen combination method on susceptibility results in a group of 28 participants at 7 Tesla.Our results show that reference scans can bias susceptibility values. Although the proposed reference-free channel-by-channel method cannot remove transmit field phase, it shows comparable results to the COMPOSER method in which a high-resolution ultrashort echo-time reference scan was used.We conclude that ultrashort echo-time reference scans reduce quantitation bias and remove the transmit field phase when using COMPOSER to combine phase data, and not combining the phase data before susceptibility processing avoids this bias, resulting in comparable results. Magn Reson Med, 2017. © 2017 InternationalSociety for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.