Fetal cardiac cine imaging using highly-accelerated dynamic MRI with retrospective motion correction and outlier rejection
Development of a MRI acquisition and reconstruction strategy to depict fetal cardiac anatomy in the presence of maternal and fetal motion.
The proposed strategy involves i) acquisition and reconstruction of highly accelerated dynamic MRI, followed by image-based ii) cardiac synchronization, iii) motion correction, iv) outlier rejection, and finally v) cardiac cine reconstruction. Postprocessing entirely was automated, aside from a user-defined region of interest delineating the fetal heart. The method was evaluated in 30 mid- to late gestational age singleton pregnancies scanned without maternal breath-hold.
The combination of complementary acquisition/reconstruction and correction/rejection steps in the pipeline served to improve the quality of the reconstructed 2D cine images, resulting in increased visibility of small, dynamic anatomical features. Artifact-free cine images successfully were produced in 36 of 39 acquired data sets; prolonged general fetal movements precluded processing of the remaining three data sets.
The proposed method shows promise as a motion-tolerant framework to enable further detail in MRI studies of the fetal heart and great vessels. Processing data in image-space allowed for spatial and temporal operations to be applied to the fetal heart in isolation, separate from extraneous changes elsewhere in the field of view.