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Design Elements and Performance Evaluation of MRI Radiofrequency Coils

N Yanasak1*, T Andrews2*, T Cull3*, M NessAiver4*, (1) Augusta University, Augusta, GA, (2) University of Vermont Medical Center, Burlington, VT, (3) ViewRay, Oakwood Village, OH, (4) Simply Physics, Baltimore, MD


(Thursday, 7/18/2019) 7:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Room: 304ABC

Radiofrequency (RF) receive coils for MRI have undergone rapid development and technological advancement in recent years, creating new challenges for medical physicists to carry out effective quality control programs. Current state-of-the-art systems use arrays of coils that are specialized for highly specific anatomy, involve large numbers of channels and independent receive elements, and enable scanning techniques like highly accelerated parallel imaging (pMRI) while increasing complexity and requiring calibrations and corrections for many applications.

Manufacturer-provided test tools based on NEMA standards may or may not be accessible to medical physicists for QC on a given MRI system; some software tools are open-access while others are restricted to service modes, and some vendors’ procedures are well-described in readily-available documentation while others’ are known only to trained service personnel. Outside of NEMA and manufacturer-designed test procedures, there is little standardization in testing among medical physicists and few well-documented objective performance standards that lend themselves to routine use for clinical QC.

This session will provide an overview of common RF coil designs, an overview of NEMA evaluation methods, and a discussion of QC issues raised in AAPM Report 118 as well as ongoing efforts by the Working Group on MR Testing and Quality Assurance to provide standardized evaluation procedures and reference performance data. Speakers will highlight tips and tricks from their personal experience and information about some vendor-provided tools for MRI coil performance evaluations and QC measurements.

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify and describe the design features of MRI volume coils, surface coils, and multichannel phased arrays.
2. Select or design appropriate coil evaluation procedures for acceptance and ongoing QC.
3. Specify appropriate phantoms, scan protocols, measurements, and action limits for MRI coil performance QC.



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