The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy, reliability, and cerebral microbleed (CMB) detection performance of 2-minute quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) from 3-dimensional echo-planar imaging (3D-EPI).
Materials and Methods
Gadolinium phantom study was conducted using 3D-EPI, single–echo time (TE), and multi-TE gradient-recalled echo (GRE) sequences on two 3-T magnetic resonance (MR) scanners to assess the accuracy between measured and theoretical susceptibility values. The institutional review board approved this prospective study, and 40 healthy volunteers were enrolled with written consent between April 2018 and October 2019. Each underwent 3D-EPI, single-TE, and multi-TE GRE sequences consecutively on one 3-T MR scanner, and QSMs were calculated to assess the reliability of 3D-EPI QSM. Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC), linear regression, and Bland-Altman plots were calculated. Patients with CMB who underwent both 3D-EPI and GRE QSM scans were retrospectively enrolled. Two radiologists evaluated images independently, and Cohen κ coefficients were calculated to compare CMB detection performance.
Phantom study showed excellent validity of 3D-EPI QSM on both MR scanners: Skyra, R2 = 0.996, P < 0.001, ICC = 0.997, mean difference, −2 ppb (95% confidence interval [CI], −45 to 40 ppb); Prisma, R2 = 0.992, P < 0.001, ICC = 0.988, mean difference, 15 ppb (95% CI, −67 to 97 ppb). A human study of 40 healthy volunteers (59 ± 13 years, 25 women) showed excellent reliability with 3D-EPI QSM for both single-TE and multi-TE GRE (R2 = 0.981, P < 0.001, ICC = 0.988; R2 = 0.983, P < 0.001, ICC = 0.990, respectively), supported by a Bland-Altman mean difference of 4 ppb (95% CI, −15 to 23 ppb) for single-TE GRE and 3 ppb (95% CI, −15 to 20 ppb) for multi-TE GRE. The CMB detection performance evaluation from 38 patients (51 ± 20 years, 20 women) showed almost perfect agreement between 3D-EPI and GRE QSM for both raters (κ = 0.923 and 0.942, P < 0.001).
Faster QSM from 3D-EPI demonstrated excellent accuracy, reliability, and CMB detection performance.