Purpose: We compared the image quality of free-breathing diffusion-weighted imaging (FB-DWI) to that of respiratory-triggered DWI (RT-DWI) after proper optimization. Materials and Methods: Three healthy subjects were scanned to optimize magnetic resonance (MR) parameters of FB-DWI to improve image quality, including spatial resolution, image noise, and chemical shift artifacts. After this optimization, we scanned 32 patients with liver disease to assess the clinical feasibility of the optimized FB-DWI. Of the 32 patients, 14 had a total of 28 hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs), four had a total of 15 metastatic liver tumors, and the other 14 had no tumor. Qualitatively, we compared the image quality scores of FB-DWI with those of RT-DWI with the Wilcoxon signed-rank test. Quantitatively, we compared the signal-to-noise ratios (SNRs) of the liver parenchyma, lesion-to-nonlesion contrast-to-noise ratios (CNRs) and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) values of the liver parenchyma and liver tumor by the paired t-test. Results: The average scores of image quality for sharpness of liver contour, image noise, and chemical shift artifacts were significantly higher for FB-DWI than RT-DWI (P < 0.05). SNRs, CNRs, and ADC values of the liver parenchyma and tumors did not differ significantly between the 2 DWI methods. Conclusion: Compared with RT-DWI, the optimized FB-DWI provided better spatial resolution, fewer artifacts, and comparable SNRs, lesion-to-nonlesion CNRs, and ADC values.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging