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Achieva 3.0T benefits readily apparent at University of Manchester

Best Practice
Prof. Williams, Steve Manchester, University of Manchester United Kingdom
Prof. Jackson, Alan Manchester, University of Manchester United Kingdom
Hutchinson, Charles Manchester, University of Manchester United Kingdom


Within just two weeks of arriving at the University of Manchester in April 2004, the world's first Achieva 3.0T system was up and running. During the ensuing eight weeks, clinicians affirmed the Achieva's capabilities in clinical and research examinations ranging from BOLD imaging, MR spectroscopy, and diffusion-weighted imaging to angiographic, musculoskeletal and abdominal scanning. In addition, the high field strength, combined with the FreeWave spectrometer scalable up to 32 RF channels, convinced Manchester radiologists Prof. Alan Jackson, Dr. Charles Hutchinson, and scientist Prof. Steve Williams, that Achieva 3.0T will contribute significantly to a multitude of emerging applications.


Prof. Alan Jackson Prof. Steve Williams Dr. Charles Hutchinson
Prof. Alan Jackson
Prof. Steve Williams
Dr. Charles Hutchinson

Clinicians at first Achieva 3.0T site exploit high SNR and multi-channel RF architecture in many applications

"Because we received the world's first scanner of its type we weren't expecting to start out at a very great rate," says Prof. Alan Jackson, Chair in Neuroradiology at Manchester. "In fact, what we got was a high performance, well-designed machine that we were able to use clinically immediately and effectively. Many of the problems we anticipated we might encounter at 3.0T haven't surfaced. The image quality is excellent and we are very favorably impressed."


Prof. Jackson's colleagues, Prof. Steve Williams, Chair in Imaging Sciences and Charles Hutchinson, M.D., senior lecturer, agree. "Achieva 3.0T is based on a very stable platform. This system already looks to be mature and certainly ready for the marketplace," Dr. Williams remarks.


"On the first pass of what we've seen, Achieva 3.0T has been quite impressive from a musculoskeletal point-of-view," Dr. Hutchinson adds. "I have a small triangular cartilage tear of the wrist that I have scanned several times on the 1.5T scanner and it was not well visualized, but on Achieva 3.0T I could easily see it. On a patient with severe hip changes, I was able to depict structural changes around the labrum that were difficult to see on the 1.5T without giving the patient contrast injections."


T1-weighted T2-weighted, SPAIR 3D WATS f, ProSet 1331
T2-weighted, SPAIR
3D WATS f, ProSet 1331
PD-weighted, SPAIR T2-weighted, SPAIR, sag. oblique 3D WATS c, ProSet 1331
PD-weighted, SPAIR
T2-weighted, SPAIR, sag. oblique
3D WATS c, ProSet 1331

55-year-old male with degenerative disease of the left hip.

Images demonstrate loss of joint space, damage to cartilage mobility and bony changes within femur. The Achieva 3.0T with FreeWave produces high resolution orthopedic imaging. RF-SMART allows fast scan times with perfectly homogenous fat suppression with SPAIR. Body-tuned CLEAR gives homogenous signal intensity across whole field-of-view.


Achieva 3.0T performance leaves no doubt about 3.0T clinical potential

Appreciating that 3.0T offers twice the signal-to-noise as 1.5T is one thing - actually witnessing the benefits is another, according to Prof. Jackson. "We've been doing quite a lot of very high resolution imaging of the brain in very reasonable times by virtue of Achieva's gradient performance," he says. "You can see individual third branch arteries going out onto the cortex, which would be unexpected at 1.5T or lower fields. Some of my colleagues were astonished at images I showed them of the internal cerebral circulation, because the detail is absolutely superb, and there's almost no noise in the images."


"The advantages are quite obvious from using the Achieva 3.0T over the short time we've had it," adds Dr. Hutchinson. "The enhanced signal-to-noise gives us the spatial resolution necessary to demonstrate fine structures, particularly in musculoskeletal studies that are attempting to evaluate articular cartilage, joint surface details and supporting structures, such as tendons. For patients who can't tolerate longer scan times, we can trade the extra SNR to reduce scan times. Further in the future, we can use Achieva 3.0T to improve resolution in imaging of peripheral nerves and vasculature. We have done a couple of cases in which we obtain very good demonstration of vascularity."


Dr. Hutchinson also alludes to the development of new techniques for 3.0T imaging, an example of which is very short TR/TE sequences "for imaging fibro cartilage and tendons in a way we've never imaged them before."


PD-weighted TSE with SPAIR T1-weighted TSE spine T2-weighted TSE spine
PD-weighted TSE with SPAIR
T1-weighted TSE spine
T2-weighted TSE spine

High SNR benefits BOLD and spectroscopic imaging

The Achieva's high signal-to-noise is a major asset for BOLD and MR spectroscopy imaging, especially in research exploring brain organization in patients with mental health disorders, Prof. Williams observes. "In 3.0T BOLD studies I see a double benefit: increased sensitivity and increased contrast," he says. "In MRS, I'm interested in measuring such brain compounds as glutamate and glutamine, which are probably impossible to reliably separate at 1.5T. But from looking at 3.0T simulations and phantom data, I think this is a real possibility. There's a double benefit here, too - the increased sensitivity will enable us to either scan faster or use smaller volumes, in addition to improving separation of metabolites."


Pituitary tumor T2-weighted, SPAIR.MRA of circle of Willis Diffusion-weighted imaging
Pituitary tumor
MRA of circle of Willis
Diffusion-weighted imaging
T2-weighted, SPAIR.

Achieva revolutionizes DWI

In addition to routine phase contrast angiography with SENSE, diffusion-weighted imaging clinical studies have been exceptional, adds Prof. Jackson.


"We've been doing diffusion research here for years, and Achieva 3.0T has revolutionized DWI already," he says. "A colleague has already written a paper based on two or three image sets acquired with Achieva after just one week of sequence optimization. Furthermore, the diffusion tensor tractography, using 32 and 64 diffusion directions, has superb spatial resolution - we're able to produce beautiful, isotropic, multi-directional data sets, something we really couldn't do before. This will be invaluable in white matter fiber tract research."

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Nov 26, 2004

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