Rapid MR elastography of the liver for subsecond stiffness sampling


  • M. Anders
  • T. Meyer
  • C. Warmuth
  • J. Pfeuffer
  • H. Tzschaetzsch
  • H. Herthum
  • M. Shahryari
  • K. Degenhardt
  • O. Wieben
  • S. Schmitter
  • J. Schulz-Menger
  • T. Schaeffter
  • J. Braun
  • I. Sack


  • Magnetic Resonance in Medicine


  • Magn Reson Med 91 (1): 312-324


  • PURPOSE: Depicting the stiffness of biological soft tissues, MR elastography (MRE) has a wide range of diagnostic applications. The purpose of this study was to improve the temporal resolution of 2D hepatic MRE in order to provide more rapid feedback on the quality of the wavefield and ensure better temporal sampling of respiration-induced stiffness changes. METHODS: We developed a rapid MRE sequence that uses 2D segmented gradient-echo spiral readout to encode 40 Hz harmonic vibrations and generate stiffness maps within 625 ms. We demonstrate the use of this technique as a rapid test for shear wave amplitudes and overall MRE image quality and as a method for monitoring respiration-induced stiffness changes in the liver in comparison to 3D MRE and ultrasound-based time-harmonic elastography. RESULTS: Subsecond MRE allowed monitoring of increasing shear wave amplitudes in the liver with increasing levels of external stimulation within a single breath-hold. Furthermore, the technique detected respiration-induced changes in liver stiffness with peak values (1.83 ± 0.22 m/s) at end-inspiration, followed by softer values during forced abdominal pressure (1.60 ± 0.22 m/s) and end-expiration (1.49 ± 0.22 m/s). The effects of inspiration and expiration were confirmed by time-harmonic elastography. CONCLUSION: Our results suggest that subsecond MRE of the liver is useful for checking MRE driver settings and monitoring breathing-induced changes in liver stiffness in near real time.