Mapping the impact of non-linear gradient fields on diffusion MRI tensor estimation
Praitayini Kanakaraj, Colin B. Hansen, Francois Rheault, Leon Y. Cai, Baxter P. Rogers, Kurt G. Schilling and Bennett A. Landman. “Mapping the impact of non-linear gradient fields on diffusion MRI tensor estimation”. SPIE Medical Imaging 2022. Accepted.
Non-linear gradients impact diffusion weighted (DW) MRI by corrupting the experimental setup and lead to problems during image encoding including the effects in-plane distortion, in-plane shifts, intensity modulations and phase errors. Recent studies have been shown this may present significant complication in the interpretation of results and conclusion while studying tractography and tissue microstructure in data. To interpret the degree in consequences of gradient non-linearities between the desired and achieved gradients, we introduced empirically derived gradient non linear fields at different orientations and different tensor properties. The impact is assessed through diffusion tensor properties including mean diffusivity (MD), fractional anisotropy (FA) and principal eigen vector (PEV). The study shows lower FA are more susceptible to LR fields and LR fields with determinant <1 or <1 corrupt tensor more. The corruption can result in significantly different FA based on true-FA and LR field. Apparent MD decreases for negative determinant, on the other hand positive determinant shows the opposite effect. LR field have a larger impact on PEV when FA value is small. The results are dependent on the underlying orientation, non-linear field corruption can cause both increase and decrease of estimated FA, MD and PEV value. This work provides insight into characterizing the non-linear gradient error and aid in selecting correction techniques to address the inaccuracies in b-values.