Feature | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | October 04, 2016 | Dave Fornell

Software Advances in MRI Technology

This article originally appeared as an introduction to the MRI Wide Bore Systems comparison chart, which can be viewed here.

The Philips Ingenia MRI system. The vendor offers MRI software packages for MRI image analysis.

Image courtesy of Philips Healthcare

The Toshiba Titan 3T MRI system using a MRI breast coil.

Image courtesy of Toshiba

The most recent big advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology have been on the software side, enabling faster contrast scans, greatly simplified cardiac imaging workflows and allowing MR of the lung.  

Multi-contrasts From a Single Acquisition

In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted market clearance for GE Healthcare’s MAGiC (MAGnetic resonance image Compilation) software, the industry’s first multi-contrast MRI technique that delivers eight contrasts in a single acquisition in a fraction of the time of conventional imaging. MAGiC is the result of a collaboration with SyntheticMR AB and gives clinicians more data than conventional scanning. This technique allows users the flexibility to manipulate MR images retrospectively, leading to significant timesavings, fewer rescans and therefore cost savings, which combined, can assist the clinician in making a more decisive diagnosis. It uses an acquisition technique that allows the ability to modify image contrast after scanning has been completed, which is not possible with conventional MR. GE said MAGiC delivers more potential for the clinician to utilize changes in the image contrast to enhance diagnosis and reduce orders for rescans.  

Simplifying MRI-conditional

Advancements in medical implant technologies have greatly increased the number of patients with these devices in recent years, which complicated MRI scanning. MR-conditional implants include knee and hip replacements, spine implants, pacemakers and implantable cardioverter defibrillators (ICDs). More of these devices are becoming MR-conditional, which permits MRI scanning within certain parameters. The implants require adjustments in the scanner setup in order to create optimal images in the presence of these metal implants and to ensure patient safety. However, such adjustments can be time-consuming and complex, causing patients with MR-conditional implants to often be denied MRI exams. At RSNA 2015, Philips unveiled the first MRI automated user interface technology designed to greatly simplify exams with patients that have MR-conditional medical implants. The new ScanWise Implant software offers a guided user interface and automatic scan parameter selection designed to support “first-time-right” imaging. The software guides operators to meet the specific criteria for each implant.

Lung MRI Now Possible

Lung MRI has been problematic since the lungs are filled with air and there is a low density of hydrogen atoms required to create MR images. For this reason, computed tomography (CT) has traditionally been used for lung imaging. At RSNA 2015, Toshiba introduced its Ultrashort Echo Time (UTE) sequence for dedicated pulmonary MRI. Available on the Vantage Titan 3.0T MR system, UTE allows clinicians to view tissue with very short relaxation times and high susceptibility regions where signals generally disappear too quickly for accurate MR imaging.  

Software Greatly Reduces MRI Scan Times

In April, the FDA approved two new Siemens MRI applications. The Simultaneous Multi-Slice application acquires MR images simultaneously as opposed to sequentially, reducing 2-D acquisition times by as much as a factor of 8. GOBrain is designed to dramatically reduce the time required for MRI examinations of the brain. Shorter scans are increasingly important at a time when brain scans account for approximately one out of every four MRI examinations, and the number of brain MRI exams is expected to swell to 45 million worldwide this year, Siemens said. Using SMS, physicians can reduce the length of MRI brain examinations, which can vary significantly, to times compatible with the clinical routine (e.g., up to 68 percent for diffusion tensor imaging, or DTI) and bring clinical relevance to advanced neurological applications. SMS can be used in the treatment of patients who possess limited tolerance for longer scan times, including pediatric or geriatric patients. In brain surgery cases, SMS may facilitate surgical mapping and improve efficiency in the OR. Enabling clinically validated brain examinations in just five minutes, the new GOBrain application allows acquisition of clinically essential image orientations and contrasts with a single button push. The technology is backed by Siemens’ high-channel density coils and the company’s MRI scanning software DotGO. GOBrain helps improve patient throughput and potentially reduce costs per scan. Shorter scan times, which are better tolerated by patients, can help curb lengthy and potentially expensive rescans as well as potentially reduce sedation.

Simplifying Cardiac MRI

Cardiac MRI has been very limited, only making up about 1 percent of all MRIs in the United States due to its complexity, long exam times and high cost. However, GE Healthcare introduced a new MRI technology at RSNA 2015 to greatly simplify cardiac MR in hopes of expanding its adoption in place of CT scans. Developed for its new Signa MRI scanners, the new ViosWorks cardiac MRI software helps automate the image sequences to perform a full 3-D chest volume scan that includes the full motion of the myocardium during the cardiac cycle, blood flow, time and fully automated quantification to create what GE calls a 7-D cardiac MRI exam. ViosWorks also speeds the imaging time from 70 minutes down to about 10 minutes using a single, free breathing exam. 

Gathering a full volume dataset of a chest in motion creates a large amount of data that would normally clog the average PACS and post-processing 3-D image workstation. An average cardiac MRI exam today is about 200 MB, while a ViosWorks exam is about 20 GB. So, GE has launched a new cloud computing service to help process that large amount of data quickly with remote super-computing power. 

Hitachi Expands Apps for MRI

Last fall, Hitachi Medical Systems America released its new MRI software platform Evolution 5 for current Hitachi customers and new system orders. Evolution 5 offers nearly 40 new features and improvements that continue to raise the level of imaging performance and to expand the breadth of diagnostic applications. With the integration of a new image processing algorithm (VIVID), new reconstruction task (NCC) that reduces redundant noise pickup and new optimized fast-spin echo sequence (opFSE), customers that migrate to Evolution 5 will see dramatically improved sharpness and clarity. The software also includes applications for motion compensation, neuro suite, selective saturation for controlled MR angiography (MRA) evaluation in the abdomen, diffusion with enhanced functional analysis including kurtosis imaging (DKI), liver imaging with iron quantification and breast imaging with breast spectroscopy for therapy monitoring.

Silent MRI Scanning

GE Healthcare has expanded its SilentScan MRI noise reduction technology to its Signa Pioneer 3T system, which features an enhanced SilentScan package to greatly reduce noise during MRI scans. SilentScan has been added for musculoskeletal (MSK) imaging and spine imaging, in addition to a complete neuro exam that also includes diffusion weighted imaging (DWI). SilentScan includes two distinct approaches to reduce acoustic noise by addressing the source, the gradient-magnet interaction and the mechanical vibration.  

 

Related MRI Content

RSNA Technology Report 2015: Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Recent Advances in MRI Technology

Advances in Cardiac Imaging at RSNA 2016

Recent Trends and Developments in Contrast Media

Comparison Chart: MRI Wide Bore Systems 
(chart access will require a login, but is free and only takes a minute to register)

Comparison Chart: MRI Contrast Agents
(chart access will require a login, but is free and only takes a minute to register)

Comparison Chart: Cardiovascular MRI Analysis Software
(chart access will require a login, but is free and only takes a minute to register)

Related Content

This study found cardiac MRI gadolinium-based contrast agents are safe for patient use. Overall, there were only 556 acute adverse effects in 145,855 contrast-enhanced MRIs, with only 47 being classified as severe. 

This study found cardiac MRI gadolinium-based contrast agents are safe for patient use. Overall, there were only 556 acute adverse effects in 145,855 contrast-enhanced MRIs, with only 47 being classified as severe. 

Feature | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | October 29, 2020
October 29, 2020 — Contrast agents used to improve views of the heart on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) carry a ver
Kaplan-Meier curves for all-cause mortality in patients with versus without myocardial injury (Panel A) and in patients with versus without myocardial injury according to the presence or absence of major echocardiographic abnormalities (Panel B). *Includes wall motion abnormalities, global left ventricular dysfunction, diastolic dysfunction, right ventricular dysfunction and presence of pericardial effusion. Event rates are censored at 20 days from hospital admission. Images courtesy of Mount Sinai Health S

Kaplan-Meier curves for all-cause mortality in patients with versus without myocardial injury (Panel A) and in patients with versus without myocardial injury according to the presence or absence of major echocardiographic abnormalities (Panel B). *Includes wall motion abnormalities, global left ventricular dysfunction, diastolic dysfunction, right ventricular dysfunction and presence of pericardial effusion. Event rates are censored at 20 days from hospital admission. Images courtesy of Mount Sinai Health System

News | Ultrasound Imaging | October 28, 2020
October 28, 2020 — Card...
Chest X-ray from a patient included in the study. Posteroanterior view, of a 79-year-old man with history of a previous pacemaker, with abandoned right atrial and right ventricular pacing leads on the right side at time of new cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator implant on the left side. Arrows indicate a nodular opacity in the right midlung concerning for mass. Find more images of patients in this study in Radiology: Cardiothoracic Imaging.

Chest X-ray from a patient included in the study. Posteroanterior view, of a 79-year-old man with history of a previous pacemaker, with abandoned right atrial and right ventricular pacing leads on the right side at time of new cardiac resynchronization therapy defibrillator implant on the left side. Arrows indicate a nodular opacity in the right midlung concerning for mass. Find more images of patients in this study in Radiology: Cardiothoracic Imaging.

Feature | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | October 27, 2020
October 27, 2020 – Magn...
Ceiling-mounted X-ray system includes MyExam Companion intelligent user interface to guide technologist through exam workflow
News | X-Ray | October 26, 2020
October 26, 2020 — Siemens Healthineers has announced the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance of the...
Nearly 40 MRIdian-focused presentations will be part of the ASTRO Scientific Sessions
News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | October 26, 2020
October 26, 2020 — ViewRay, Inc. announced that the company's MRIdian Linac MRI-guided radiation therapy system will
This illustration show the complexity of the data obtained from one single patient with moderate/severe traumatic brain injury. Different imaging approaches and techniques have their own unique sensitivity in assessing different aspects of neuroanatomy and neuropathology. What can be seen on images also changes with time since injury. Data from comprehensive clinical and functional assessments using a range of other tools is also important for evaluating patient outcome. Through data harmonization and large

This illustration show the complexity of the data obtained from one single patient with moderate/severe traumatic brain injury. Different imaging approaches and techniques have their own unique sensitivity in assessing different aspects of neuroanatomy and neuropathology. What can be seen on images also changes with time since injury. Data from comprehensive clinical and functional assessments using a range of other tools is also important for evaluating patient outcome. Through data harmonization and large-scale analyses of data combined across multiple research sites, the ENIGMA Brain Injury will develop and test methods and procedures for making sense of the complexity in this data. Images courtesy of Olsen et al., Brain Imaging and Behavior, 2020

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | October 23, 2020
October 23, 2020 — Trau...
A, Initial conventional axial CT image shows no noticeable lung damage (within red box) in right upper lobe. B, Electron density spectral CT image obtained at same time as image in A shows lesions (within red box) in right upper lobe. C, Follow-up conventional axial chest CT image obtained 5 days after images in A and B confirm presence of lesions (within red box) in right upper lobe.

A, Initial conventional axial CT image shows no noticeable lung damage (within red box) in right upper lobe. B, Electron density spectral CT image obtained at same time as image in A shows lesions (within red box) in right upper lobe. C, Follow-up conventional axial chest CT image obtained 5 days after images in A and B confirm presence of lesions (within red box) in right upper lobe. Image courtesy of the American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS), American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR)

News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | October 22, 2020
October 22, 2020 — According to an open-...
The fMRI hyperscanning environment.

(A) The fMRI hyperscanning environment. The clinician (1) and patient (2) were positioned in two different 3T MRI scanners. An audio-video link enabled online communication between the two scanners (3), and video images were used to extract frame-by-frame facial expression metrics. During simultaneous acquisition of blood oxygen level–dependent (BOLD)–fMRI data, the clinician used a button box (4) to apply electroacupuncture (EA) treatment (real/sham, double-blind) to the patient (5) to alleviate evoked pressure pain to the leg (6; Hokanson cuff inflation). Pain and affect related to the treatment were rated after each trial. (B) Study overview. After an initial behavioral visit, each individual participated in a Clinical-Interaction (hyperscan preceded by a clinical intake) and No-Interaction condition (hyperscan without a preceding intake), in a counterbalanced order, with two different partners. (C) Experimental protocol. Each hyperscan was composed of 12 repeated trials (four verum EA, four sham EA, and four no treatment) in a pseudo-randomized order. After a resting period (far left), both participants were shown a visual cue to indicate whether the next pain stimulus would be treated (green frame) or not treated (red frame) by the clinician. These cues prompted clinicians prepare to either apply or not apply treatment while evoking corresponding anticipation for the patient. Following the anticipation cue, moderately painful pressure pain was applied to the patient’s left leg, while the clinician applied or did not apply treatment, respectively. After another resting period, participants rated pain (patients), vicarious pain (clinicians), and affect (both) using a visual analog scale (VAS).

News | Clinical Trials | October 22, 2020
October 22, 2020 — The potential impact of the patient-clinician relationship on a patient's response to treatment is
The FDA clearance, Quantib’s 6th to date, marks the first time a comprehensive AI prostate solution will be available to radiologists in the United States
News | Prostate Cancer | October 21, 2020
October 21, 2020 — Quantib, a market leader in...
Lesion was originally reported as indeterminate enhancing mass, and outside report recommended biopsy. Classic features of benign hemangioma are shown. Error was attributed to faulty reasoning. A, Axial MR image obtained 5 minutes after contrast agent administration shows peripheral nodular discontinuous enhancement. B, Axial MR image obtained 10 minutes after contrast agent administration shows centripetal progression of enhancement (arrow). C, Axial fast imaging employing steady-state acquisition (FIESTA)

Lesion was originally reported as indeterminate enhancing mass, and outside report recommended biopsy. Classic features of benign hemangioma are shown. Error was attributed to faulty reasoning. A, Axial MR image obtained 5 minutes after contrast agent administration shows peripheral nodular discontinuous enhancement. B, Axial MR image obtained 10 minutes after contrast agent administration shows centripetal progression of enhancement (arrow). C, Axial fast imaging employing steady-state acquisition (FIESTA) MR image shows lesion is homogeneously hyperintense compared with liver parenchyma. Image courtesy of American Roentgen Ray Society (ARRS), American Journal of Roentgenology (AJR)

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | October 21, 2020
October 21, 2020 — According to an artic...