Synthetic MRI for Clinical Neuroimaging: Results of the Magnetic Resonance Image Compilation (MAGiC) Prospective, Multicenter, Multireader Trial

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The authors performed a prospective multireader, multicase noninferiority trial of 1526 images read by 7 blinded neuroradiologists with prospectively acquired synthetic and conventional brain MR imaging case-control pairs from 109 subjects with neuroimaging indications. Each case included conventional T1- and T2-weighted, T1 and T2 FLAIR, and STIR and/or proton density and synthetic reconstructions from multiple-dynamic multiple-echo imaging. Images were randomized and independently assessed. Overall synthetic MR imaging quality was similar to that of conventional proton-density, STIR, and T1- and T2-weighted contrast views across neurologic conditions. Artifacts were more common in synthetic T2 FLAIR, but were readily recognizable and did not mimic pathology.

Abstract

Figure 6 from paper
Subdural hematoma on T2 FLAIR in synthetic and conventional 3T MR imaging demonstrating pronounced artifacts. Conventional (left) and synthetic (right) T2 FLAIR images are shown for a patient with subdural hematoma, in which synthetic T2 FLAIR has notable granulated hyperintensities and lacks contrast between the lesion and surrounding tissues. Artifacts of this severity level were rare among synthetically reconstructed images, possibly due to issues in the MDME acquisition that are typically resolved on rescanning. For cases demonstrating these granulated hyperintensities on the synthetic T2 FLAIR, artifacts were readily recognizable by characteristic distortion and correlation with other contrast views without apparent artifacts. While these could necessitate rescanning with conventional T2 FLAIR in some cases, when coupled with other contrast views, these artifacts did not interfere with the diagnostic accuracy of synthetic MR imaging.

BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE

Synthetic MR imaging enables reconstruction of various image contrasts from 1 scan, reducing scan times and potentially providing novel information. This study is the first large, prospective comparison of synthetic-versus-conventional MR imaging for routine neuroimaging.

MATERIALS AND METHODS

A prospective multireader, multicase noninferiority trial of 1526 images read by 7 blinded neuroradiologists was performed with prospectively acquired synthetic and conventional brain MR imaging case-control pairs from 109 subjects (mean, 53.0 ± 18.5 years of age; range, 19–89 years of age) with neuroimaging indications. Each case included conventional T1- and T2-weighted, T1 and T2 FLAIR, and STIR and/or proton density and synthetic reconstructions from multiple-dynamic multiple-echo imaging. Images were randomized and independently assessed for diagnostic quality, morphologic legibility, radiologic findings indicative of diagnosis, and artifacts.

RESULTS

Clinical MR imaging studies revealed 46 healthy and 63 pathologic cases. Overall diagnostic quality of synthetic MR images was noninferior to conventional imaging on a 5-level Likert scale (P < .001; mean synthetic-conventional, −0.335 ± 0.352; Δ = 0.5; lower limit of the 95% CI, −0.402). Legibility of synthetic and conventional morphology agreed in >95%, except in the posterior limb of the internal capsule for T1, T1 FLAIR, and proton-density views (all, >80%). Synthetic T2 FLAIR had more pronounced artifacts, including +24.1% of cases with flow artifacts and +17.6% cases with white noise artifacts.

CONCLUSIONS

Overall synthetic MR imaging quality was similar to that of conventional proton-density, STIR, and T1- and T2-weighted contrast views across neurologic conditions. While artifacts were more common in synthetic T2 FLAIR, these were readily recognizable and did not mimic pathology but could necessitate additional conventional T2 FLAIR to confirm the diagnosis.

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Synthetic MRI for Clinical Neuroimaging: Results of the Magnetic Resonance Image Compilation (MAGiC) Prospective, Multicenter, Multireader Trial
jross
Jeffrey Ross • Mayo Clinic, Phoenix

Dr. Jeffrey S. Ross is a Professor of Radiology at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, and practices neuroradiology at the Mayo Clinic in Phoenix, Arizona. His publications include over 100 peer-reviewed articles, nearly 60 non-refereed articles, 33 book chapters, and 10 books. He was an AJNR Senior Editor from 2006-2015, is a member of the editorial board for 3 other journals, and a manuscript reviewer for 10 journals. He became Editor-in-Chief of the AJNR in July 2015. He received the Gold Medal Award from the ASSR in 2013.