Free-breathing fetal cardiac MRI with doppler ultrasound gating, compressed sensing, and motion compensation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


BACKGROUND: Fetal cardiovascular MRI complements ultrasound to assess fetal cardiovascular pathophysiology.

PURPOSE: To develop a free-breathing method for retrospective fetal cine MRI using Doppler ultrasound (DUS) cardiac gating and tiny golden angle radial sampling (tyGRASP) for accelerated acquisition capable of detecting fetal movements for motion compensation.

STUDY TYPE: Feasibility study.

SUBJECTS: Nine volunteers (gestational week 34-40). Short-axis and four-chamber views were acquired during maternal free-breathing and breath-hold.

FIELD STRENGTH/SEQUENCE: 1.5T cine balanced steady-state free precession.

ASSESSMENT: A self-gated reconstruction method was improved for clinical application by using 1) retrospective DUS gating, and 2) motion detection and rejection/correction algorithms for compensating for fetal motion. The free-breathing reconstructions were qualitatively and quantitatively assessed, and DUS-gating was compared with self-gating in breath-hold reconstructions. A scoring of 1-4 for overall image quality, cardiac, and extracardiac diagnostic quality was used.

STATISTICAL TESTS: Friedman's test was used to assess differences in qualitative scoring between observers. A Wilcoxon matched-pairs signed rank test was used to assess differences between breath-hold and free-breathing acquisitions and between observers' quantitative measurements.

RESULTS: In all cases, 111 free-breathing and 145 breath-hold acquisitions, the automatically calculated DUS-based cardiac gating signal provided reconstructions of diagnostic quality (median score 4, range 1-4). Free-breathing did not affect the DUS-based cardiac gated retrospective radial reconstruction with respect to image or diagnostic quality (all P > 0.06). Motion detection with rejection/correction in k-space produced high-quality free-breathing DUS-based reconstructions [median 3, range (2-4)], whereas free-breathing self-gated methods failed in 80 out of 88 cases to produce a stable gating signal.

DATA CONCLUSION: Free-breathing fetal cine cardiac MRI based on DUS gating and tyGRASP with motion compensation yields diagnostic images. This simplifies acquisition for the pregnant woman and thus could help increase fetal cardiac MRI acceptance in the clinic.

LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: 2 Technical Efficacy Stage: 1 J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2019.


External organisations
  • Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Medical Imaging
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-272
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number1
Early online date2019 Jun 22
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

© 2019 The Authors. Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.