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Comparison demonstrates 32-channel cardiac coil's strength

Best Practice
Dr. Westwood, Mark, M.D. London Chest Hospital United Kingdom

Clinicians at London Chest Hospital are using Achieva 1.5T and the 32-channel SENSE Torso/Cardiac coil to obtain crisp, easy-to-interpret cardiac images. With excellent coverage and high SENSE factors, the new coil allows SENSE in any direction for exceptional flexibility.

Mark A. Westwood, MD, consultant cardiologist and clinical lead for Cardiac MR at The London Chest Hospital compared the 5-channel SENSE Cardiac coil and the new 32-channel SENSE Torso/Cardiac coil.
 The London Chest Hospital Mark A. Westwood, MD
The London Chest Hospital
Mark A. Westwood, MD

The London Chest Hospital (Bart's and The London NHS Trust, London, U.K.) performs approximately 2,500 cardiac assessments every year, and 200 cardiac MR exams each month, making it one of the top cardiac units in the United Kingdom. It installed the Achieva 1.5T system in April 2008, and acquired the 32-channel coil shortly thereafter for dynamic, structural and functional cardiac imaging.
 MRI unit London Chest Hospital The 32-channel SENSE Torso/Cardiac coil
MRI unit London Chest Hospital
The 32-channel SENSE Torso/Cardiac coil

Comparision study shows significant improvement

"We did the comparison very simply and clinically," he says. "We began with 50 sets of dynamic data - 25 were acquired with the 5-channel cardiac coil, and 25 with the 32-channel cardiac coil. We anonymized all the data and converted them into lossless AVI files, to allow the precise original data to be reconstructed without compression so there was no degradation of image quality. It was basically looking at the raw data sets, with no patient details."

The files were then scrambled into a random order and Dr. Westwood and his colleague Ceri Davies, MD, both experts in cardiac MR, were asked to independently grade the image quality on a 1-5 sliding scale, with 5 being the highest and 1 being the lowest. They looked at each scan twice for a total of 100 scan files in no particular order.

"We found that the perceived image quality by the individual interpreting the study was significantly higher with the 32-channel coil, and that was confirmed in three ways: my own assessment, Dr. Davies' assessment, and both of us combined. In all three cases, the image quality on the 32-channel coil scans was much higher."

The main advantage of the 32-channel coil, of course, is the higher signal-to-noise ratio. "Because dynamic imaging is very fast, quite often the images don't have a lot of SNR and can be quite grainy," explains Dr. Westwood. "But with 32 channels acquiring signal, there was far less evidence of this. Although we didn't change any parameters of the scan, the images were much smoother and much cleaner."

Dr. Westwood adds, "If you have a slightly difficult case, and two consultants are reading the scans, it's sometimes difficult to discuss because the image quality isn't there. With images from the 32-channel coil, we have constructive case conferences because it's much easier to see what we're both talking about. When we present the images to our colleagues, they have much more confidence in the technique and they're much more likely to trust what we're telling them."

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Better image quality helps reporting workflow

Because the images acquired with the 32-channel coil are easier to read and interpret than those acquired with the 5-channel coil, the evaluation of the scans goes more quickly as well. "They take a little less time to evaluate," says Dr. Westwood. "We evaluate them manually, and the better image quality makes it much easier and quicker to do that. So I think it does improve our workflow on the reporting side, in terms of getting the results back to the referring physician more quickly."

Using the new coil has the potential to improve the patient throughput at the Hospital as well. "We need to gain 40 to 45 minutes in time efficiency over the day to get an extra patient in, and we're looking at how we could do that. We do 10-hour scanning days; usually that's 11 patients. If we plan it carefully with staffing and planning, it's possible that the 32-channel coil would give us the opportunity to scan another patient every day day. I think no matter what we did with the 5-channel coil, we'd have difficulty getting more patients through."

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Dec 9, 2010

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Best Practice
Achieva 1.5T
Release 1, Release 2, Release 2.5, Release 2.6
Nova, Nova Dual, Pulsar
Aorta, Cardiac, Cardiac Morphology, Coronary arteries, Function Cine, Function Non-Cine

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