Multisite trial of MR flow measurement: Phantom and protocol design

Clinical Neurosciences, King's College London, London, England.
Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (Impact Factor: 2.79). 05/2005; 21(5):620-31. DOI: 10.1002/jmri.20311
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT To describe a portable, easily assembled phantom with well-defined bore geometry together with a series of tests that will form the basis of a standardized quality assurance protocol in a multicenter trial of flow measurement by the MR phase mapping technique.
The phantom consists of silicone polymer layers containing parallel straight and stenosed flow channels in one layer and a U-bend in a second layer, separated by hermetically sealed agarose slabs. The phantom is constructed by casting low melting-point metal in an aluminum mold precisely milled to the desired geometry, and then using the low melting-point metal core as a negative around which the silicone is allowed to set. By melting out the metal, the flow channels are established. The milled aluminum mold is reusable, ensuring faithful reproduction of the flow geometry for all phantoms thus produced. The agarose layers provide additional loading and static background signal for background correction. With the use of the described phantom, one can evaluate flow measurement accuracy and repeatability, as well as the influence of several imaging geometry factors: slice offset, in-plane position, and slice-flow obliquity.
The new phantom is compact and portable, and is well suited for reassembly. We were able to demonstrate its facility in a battery of tests of interest in evaluating MR flow measurements.
The phantom is a robust standardized test object for use in a multicenter trial. Such a trial, to investigate the performance of MR flow measurement using the phantom and the tests we describe, has been initiated.

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Paul Summers