Quantitative diffusion tensor MR imaging of the brain: field strength related variance of apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) scalars

Huisman, Thierry ; Loenneker, Thomas ; Barta, Gerd ; Bellemann, Matthias ; Hennig, Juergen ; Fischer, Joachim ; Il'yasov, Kamil

In: European Radiology, 2006, vol. 16, no. 8, p. 1651-1658

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    The objectives were to study the "impact” of the magnetic field strength on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) metrics and also to determine whether magnetic-field-related differences in T2-relaxation times of brain tissue influence DTI measurements. DTI was performed on 12 healthy volunteers at 1.5 and 3.0 Tesla (within 2 h) using identical DTI scan parameters. Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and fractional anisotropy (FA) values were measured at multiple gray and white matter locations. ADC and FA values were compared and analyzed for statistically significant differences. In addition, DTI measurements were performed at different echo times (TE) for both field strengths. ADC values for gray and white matter were statistically significantly lower at 3.0 Tesla compared with 1.5 Tesla (% change between −1.94% and −9.79%). FA values were statistically significantly higher at 3.0 Tesla compared with 1.5 Tesla (% change between +4.04 and 11.15%). ADC and FA values are not significantly different for TE=91ms and TE=125ms. Thus, ADC and FA values vary with the used field strength. Comparative clinical studies using ADC or FA values should consequently compare ADC or FA results with normative ADC or FA values that have been determined for the field strength used