BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: DTI in the brain has been well established, but its application in the spinal cord, especially in pediatrics, poses several challenges. The small cord size has inherent low SNR of the diffusion signal intensity, respiratory and cardiac movements induce artifacts, and EPI sequences used for obtaining diffusion indices cause eddy-current distortions. The purpose of this study was to 1) evaluate the accuracy of cervical spinal cord DTI in children using a newly developed iFOV sequence with spatially selective 2D-RF excitations, and 2) examine reproducibility of the DTI measures. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Twenty-five typically developing subjects were imaged twice using a 3T scanner. Axial DTI images of the cervical spinal cord were acquired with this sequence. After motion correction, DTI indices were calculated using regions of interest manually drawn at every axial section location along the cervical spinal cord for both acquisitions. Various DTI indices were calculated: FA, AD, RD, MD, RA, and VR. Geometric diffusion measures were also calculated: Cp, Cl, and Cs. RESULTS: The following average values for each index were obtained: FA = 0.50 ± 0.11; AD = 0.97 ± 0.20 × 10-3mm2s; RD = 0.41 ± 0.13 × 10-3mm2/s; MD = 0.59 ± 0.15 × 10-3mm2/s; RA = 0.35 ± 0.08; VR = 0.03 ± 0.00; Cp = 0.13 ± 0.07; Cl = 0.29 ± 0.09; and Cs = 0.58 ± 0.11. The reproducibility tests showed moderate to strong ICC in all subjects for all DTI parameters (ICC>0.72). CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that accurate and reproducible DTI parameters can be estimated in the pediatric cervical spinal cord using an iFOV EPI sequence.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Clinical Neurology