Background: For radiotherapy of abdominal cancer, four-dimensional magnetic resonance imaging (4DMRI) is desirable for tumor definition and the assessment of tumor and organ motion. However, irregular breathing gives rise to image artifacts. We developed a outlier rejection strategy resulting in a 4DMRI with reduced image artifacts in the presence of irregular breathing. Methods: We obtained 2D T2-weighted single-shot turbo spin echo images, with an interleaved 1D navigator acquisition to obtain the respiratory signal during free breathing imaging in 2 patients and 12 healthy volunteers. Prior to binning, upper and lower inclusion thresholds were chosen such that 95% of the acquired images were included, while minimizing the distance between the thresholds (inclusion range (IR)). We compared our strategy (Min95) with three commonly applied strategies: phase binning with all images included (Phase), amplitude binning with all images included (MaxIE), and amplitude binning with the thresholds set as the mean end-inhale and mean end-exhale diaphragm positions (MeanIE). We compared 4DMRI quality based on: Data included (DI); percentage of images remaining after outlier rejection. Reconstruction completeness (RC); percentage of bin-slice combinations containing at least one image after binning. Intra-bin variation (IBV); interquartile range of the diaphragm position within the bin-slice combination, averaged over three central slices and ten respiratory bins. IR. Image smoothness (S); quantified by fitting a parabola to the diaphragm profile in a sagittal plane of the reconstructed 4DMRI. A two-sided Wilcoxon's signed-rank test was used to test for significance in differences between the Min95 strategy and the Phase, MaxIE, and MeanIE strategies. Results: Based on the fourteen subjects, the Min95 binning strategy outperformed the other strategies with a mean RC of 95.5%, mean IBV of 1.6 mm, mean IR of 15.1 mm and a mean S of 0.90. The Phase strategy showed a poor mean IBV of 6.2 mm and the MaxIE strategy showed a poor mean RC of 85.6%, resulting in image artifacts (mean S of 0.76). The MeanIE strategy demonstrated a mean DI of 85.6%. Conclusions: Our Min95 reconstruction strategy resulted in a 4DMRI with less artifacts and more precise diaphragm position reconstruction compared to the other strategies.
- Image quality
- Respiratory motion