Magnetic resonance acoustic radiation force imaging.

Date Published:

2008 Aug


Acoustic radiation force impulse imaging is an elastography method developed for ultrasound imaging that maps displacements produced by focused ultrasound pulses systematically applied to different locations. The resulting images are "stiffness weighted" and yield information about local mechanical tissue properties. Here, the feasibility of magnetic resonance acoustic radiation force imaging (MR-ARFI) was tested. Quasistatic MR elastography was used to measure focal displacements using a one-dimensional MRI pulse sequence. A 1.63 or 1.5 MHz transducer supplied ultrasound pulses which were triggered by the magnetic resonance imaging hardware to occur before a displacement-encoding gradient. Displacements in and around the focus were mapped in a tissue-mimicking phantom and in an ex vivo bovine kidney. They were readily observed and increased linearly with acoustic power in the phantom (R2=0.99). At higher acoustic power levels, the displacement substantially increased and was associated with irreversible changes in the phantom. At these levels, transverse displacement components could also be detected. Displacements in the kidney were also observed and increased after thermal ablation. While the measurements need validation, the authors have demonstrated the feasibility of detecting small displacements induced by low-power ultrasound pulses using an efficient magnetic resonance imaging pulse sequence that is compatible with tracking of a dynamically steered ultrasound focal spot, and that the displacement increases with acoustic power. MR-ARFI has potential for elastography or to guide ultrasound therapies that use low-power pulsed ultrasound exposures, such as drug delivery.