Artifactual microhemorrhage generated by susceptibility weighted image processing

Ningzhi Li, Wen Tung Wang, Dzung L. Pham, John A. Butman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: To report that artifactual microhemorrhages are introduced by the two-dimensional (2D) homodyne filtering method of generating susceptibility weighted images (SWI) when open-ended fringelines (OEF) are present in phase data. Methods: SWI data from 28 traumatic brain injury (TBI) patients was obtained on a 3 tesla clinical Siemens scanner using both the product 3D gradient echo sequence (GRE) with generalized autocalibrating partially parallel acquisition acceleration and an in-house developed segmented echo planar imaging (sEPI) sequence without GRAPPA acceleration. SWI processing included (i) 2D homodyne method implemented on the scanner console and (ii) a 3D Fourier-based phase unwrapping followed by 3D high pass filtering. Original and enhanced magnitude and phase images were carefully reviewed for sites of type III OEFs and microhemorrhages by a neuroradiologist on a PACS workstation. Results: Nineteen of 28 (68%) phase datasets acquired using GRAPPA-accelerated GRE acquisition demonstrated type III OEFs. In SWI images, artifactual microhemorrhages were found on 17 of 19 (89%) cases generated using 2D homodyne processing. Application of a 3D Fourier-based unwrapping method prior HP filtering minimized the appearance of the phase singularities in the enhanced phase, and did not generate microhemorrhage-like artifacts in magnitude images. Conclusion: The 2D homodyne filtering method may introduce artifacts mimicking intracranial microhemorrhages in SWI images when type III OEFs are present in phase images. Such artifacts could lead to overestimation of pathology, e.g., TBI. This work demonstrates that 3D phase unwrapping methods minimize this artifact. However, methods to properly combine phase across coils are needed to eliminate this artifact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1695-1700
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015


  • homodyne filter
  • microhemorrhage
  • phase unwrapping
  • susceptibility weighted imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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