Doctor of Philosophy, Eindhoven University of Technology (2017)
Master of Science, Eindhoven University of Technology (2013)
Bachelor of Science, Universita Degli Studi Di Bologna (2010)
View details for Web of Science ID 000568290500163
Background Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) can depict the inflamed synovial membrane in arthritis. Purpose To study the diagnostic accuracy of DWI for the detection of arthritis compared with the clinical reference standard and to compare DWI to contrast material-enhanced MRI for the detection of synovial inflammation. Materials and Methods In this institutional review board-approved prospective study, 45 participants with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) or suspected of having JIA (seven boys, 38 girls; median age, 14 years [interquartile range, 12-16 years]) were included between December 2015 and December 2018. Study participants underwent pre- and postcontrast 3.0-T MRI of the knee with an additional DWI sequence. For the clinical reference standard, a multidisciplinary team determined the presence or absence of arthritis on the basis of clinical, laboratory, and imaging findings (excluding DWI). Two data sets were scored by two radiologists blinded to all clinical data; data set 1 contained pre- and postcontrast sequences (contrast-enhanced MRI), and data set 2 contained precontrast and DWI sequences (DWI). Diagnostic accuracy was determined by comparing the scores of the DWI data set to those of the clinical reference standard. Second, DWI was compared with contrast-enhanced MRI regarding detection of synovial inflammation. Results Sensitivity for detection of arthritis for DWI was 93% (13 of the 14 participants with arthritis were correctly classified with DWI; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 64%, 100%) and specificity was 81% (25 of 31 participants without arthritis were correctly classified with DWI; 95% CI: 62%, 92%). Scores for synovial inflammation at DWI and contrast-enhanced MRI agreed in 37 of 45 participants (82%), resulting in a sensitivity of 92% (12 of 13 participants; 95% CI: 62%, 100%) and specificity of 78% (25 of 32 participants; 95% CI: 60%, 90%) with DWI when contrast-enhanced MRI was considered the reference standard. Conclusion Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) was accurate in detecting arthritis in pediatric participants with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) or suspected of having JIA and showed agreement with contrast-enhanced MRI. The results indicate that DWI could replace contrast-enhanced MRI for imaging of synovial inflammation in this patient group. © RSNA, 2020 Online supplemental material is available for this article.
View details for DOI 10.1148/radiol.2020191685
View details for PubMedID 32154774
Chemical exchange saturation transfer of glycosaminoglycans, gagCEST, is a quantitative MR technique that has potential for assessing cartilage proteoglycan content at field strengths of 7 T and higher. However, its utility at 3 T remains unclear. The objective of this work was to implement a rapid volumetric gagCEST sequence with higher gagCEST asymmetry at 3 T to evaluate its sensitivity to osteoarthritic changes in knee articular cartilage and in comparison with T2 and T1ρ measures. We hypothesize that gagCEST asymmetry at 3 T decreases with increasing severity of osteoarthritis (OA). Forty-two human volunteers, including 10 healthy subjects and 32 subjects with medial OA, were included in the study. Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Scores (KOOS) were assessed for all subjects, and Kellgren-Lawrence grading was performed for OA volunteers. Healthy subjects were scanned consecutively at 3 T to assess the repeatability of the volumetric gagCEST sequence at 3 T. For healthy and OA subjects, gagCEST asymmetry and T2 and T1ρ relaxation times were calculated for the femoral articular cartilage to assess sensitivity to OA severity. Volumetric gagCEST imaging had higher gagCEST asymmetry than single-slice acquisitions (p = 0.015). The average scan-rescan coefficient of variation was 6.8%. There were no significant differences in average gagCEST asymmetry between younger and older healthy controls (p = 0.655) or between healthy controls and OA subjects (p = 0.310). T2 and T1ρ relaxation times were elevated in OA subjects (p < 0.001 for both) compared with healthy controls and both were moderately correlated with total KOOS scores (rho = -0.181 and rho = -0.332 respectively). The gagCEST technique developed here, with volumetric scan times under 10 min and high gagCEST asymmetry at 3 T, did not vary significantly between healthy subjects and those with mild-moderate OA. This further supports a limited utility for gagCEST imaging at 3 T for assessment of early changes in cartilage composition in OA.
View details for DOI 10.1002/nbm.4310
View details for PubMedID 32445515
BACKGROUND: Ongoing arthritis in children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) can result in cartilage damage.OBJECTIVE: To study the feasibility and repeatability of T1rho for assessing knee cartilage in JIA and also to describe T1rho values and study correlation between T1rho and conventional MRI scores for disease activity.MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirteen children with JIA or suspected JIA underwent 3-tesla (T) knee MRI that included conventional sequences and a T1rho sequence. Segmentation of knee cartilage was carried out on T1rho images. We used intraclass correlation coefficient to study the repeatability of segmentation in a subset of five children. We used the juvenile arthritis MRI scoring system to discriminate inflamed from non-inflamed knees. The Mann-Whitney U and Spearman correlation compared T1rho between children with and without arthritis on MRI and correlated T1rho with the juvenile arthritis MRI score.RESULTS: All children successfully completed the MRI examination. No images were excluded because of poor quality. Repeatability of T1rho measurement had an intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) of 0.99 (P<0.001). We observed no structural cartilage damage and found no differences in T1rho between children with (n=7) and without (n=6) inflamed knees (37.8ms vs. 31.7ms, P=0.20). However, we observed a moderate correlation between T1rho values and the juvenile arthritis MRI synovitis score (r=0.59, P=0.04).CONCLUSION: This pilot study suggests that T1rho is a feasible and repeatable quantitative imaging technique in children. T1rho values were associated with the juvenile arthritis MRI synovitis score.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s00247-019-04557-4
View details for PubMedID 31707445
Characterization of the main tibiofemoral ligaments is an essential step in developing patient-specific computational models of the knee joint for personalized surgery pre-planning. Tensile tests are commonly performed in-vitro to characterize the mechanical stiffness and rupture force of the knee ligaments which makes the technique unsuitable for in-vivo application. The time required for the limited noninvasive approaches for properties estimation based on knee laxity remained the main obstacle in clinical implementation. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique can be a platform to noninvasively assess the knee ligaments. In this study the aim was to explore the potential role of quantitative MRI and dimensional properties, in characterizing the mechanical properties of the main tibiofemoral ligaments. After MR scanning of six cadaveric legs, all 24 main tibiofemoral bone-ligaments-bone specimens were tested in vitro. During the tensile test cross sectional area of the specimens was captured using ultrasound and force-displacement curve was extracted. Digital image correlation technique was implemented to check the strain behavior of the specimen and rupture region and to assure the fixation of ligament bony block during the test. The volume of the specimen was measured using manual segmentation data, and quantitative MR parameters as T2*, T1rho, and T2 were calculated. Linear mixed statistical models for repeated measures were used to examine the association of MRI parameters and dimensional measurements with the mechanical properties (stiffness and rupture force). The results shows that while the mechanical properties were mostly correlated to the volume, inclusion of the MR parameters increased the correlation strength for stiffness (R2 0.48) and partial rupture force (R2 = 0.53). Inclusion of ligament type in the statistical analysis enhanced the correlation of mechanical properties with MR parameters and volume as for stiffness (R2 = 0.60) and partial rupture (R2 = 0.57). In conclusion, this study revealed the potentials in using quantitative MR parameters, T1rho, T2 and T2*, combined with specimen volume to estimate the essential mechanical properties of all main tibiofemoral ligaments required for subject-specific computational modeling of human knee joint.
View details for PubMedID 30769233
Early diagnosis of deep tissue injury remains problematic due to the complicated and multi-factorial nature of damage induction, and the many processes involved in damage development and recovery. In this paper we present a comprehensive assessment of deep tissue injury development and remodeling in a rat model by multi-parametric magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and histopathology. The tibialis anterior muscle of rats was subjected to mechanical deformation for 2 h. Multi-parametric in vivo MRI, consisting of T2, T2∗, mean diffusivity (MD), and angiography measurements, was applied before, during, and directly after indentation, as well as at several time points during a 14 days follow-up. MRI readouts were linked to histological analyses of the damaged tissue. The results showed dynamic change in various MRI parameters, reflecting the histopathological status of the tissue during damage induction and repair. Increased T2corresponded with edema, muscle cell damage, and inflammation. T2∗ was related to tissue perfusion, hemorrhage, and inflammation. MD increase and decrease reported on the tissue's microstructural integrity and reflected muscle degeneration, edema, as well as fibrosis. Angiography provided information on blockage of blood flow during deformation. Our results indicate that the effects of a single damage causing event of only 2 h deformation were present up to 14 days. The initial tissue response to deformation, as observed by MRI, starts at the edge of the indentation. The quantitative MRI readouts provided distinct and complementary information on the extent, temporal evolution, and microstructural basis of deep tissue injury related muscle damage.
View details for DOI 10.1152/japplphysiol.00891.2017
View details for PubMedID 29494291
3D time-resolved (4D) phase contrast MRI can be used to study muscle contraction. However, 3D coverage with sufficient spatiotemporal resolution can only be achieved by interleaved acquisitions during many repetitions of the motion task, resulting in long scan times. The aim of this study was to develop a compressed sensing accelerated 4D phase contrast MRI technique for quantification of velocities and strain rate of the muscles in the lower leg during active plantarflexion/dorsiflexion.Nine healthy volunteers were scanned during active dorsiflexion/plantarflexion task. For each volunteer, we acquired a reference scan, as well as 4 different accelerated scans (k-space undersampling factors: 3.14X, 4.09X, 4.89X, and 6.41X) obtained using Cartesian Poisson disk undersampling schemes. The data was reconstructed using a compressed sensing pipeline. For each scan, velocity and strain rate values were quantified in the gastrocnemius lateralis, gastrocnemius medialis, tibialis anterior, and soleus.No significant differences in velocity values were observed as a function acceleration factor in the investigated muscles. The strain rate calculation resulted in one positive (s+) and one negative (s-) eigenvalue, whereas the third eigenvalue (s3) was consistently 0 for all the acquisitions. No significant differences were observed for the strain rate eigenvalues as a function of acceleration factor.Data undersampling combined with compressed sensing reconstruction allowed obtainment of time-resolved phase contrast acquisitions with 3D coverage and quantitative information comparable to the reference scan. The 3D sensitivity of the method can help in understanding the connection between muscle architecture and muscle function in future studies.
View details for DOI 10.1002/mrm.27158
View details for PubMedID 29508449
Anatomical (static) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is the most useful imaging technique for the evaluation and assessment of internal derangement of the knee, but does not provide dynamic information and does not allow the study of the interaction of the different tissues during motion. As knee pain is often only experienced during dynamic tasks, the ability to obtain four-dimensional (4D) images of the knee during motion could improve the diagnosis and provide a deeper understanding of the knee joint. In this work, we present a novel approach for dynamic, high-resolution, 4D imaging of the freely moving knee without the need for external triggering. The dominant knee of five healthy volunteers was scanned during a flexion/extension task. To evaluate the effects of non-uniform motion and poor coordination skills on the quality of the reconstructed images, we performed a comparison between fully free movement and movement instructed by a visual cue. The trigger signal for self-gating was extracted using principal component analysis (PCA), and the images were reconstructed using a parallel imaging and compressed sensing reconstruction pipeline. The reconstructed 4D movies were scored for image quality and used to derive bone kinematics through image registration. Using our method, we were able to obtain 4D high-resolution movies of the knee without the need for external triggering hardware. The movies obtained with and without instruction did not differ significantly in terms of image scoring and quantitative values for tibiofemoral kinematics. Our method showed to be robust for the extraction of the self-gating signal even for uninstructed motion. This can make the technique suitable for patients who, as a result of pain, may find it difficult to comply exactly with instructions. Furthermore, bone kinematics can be derived from accelerated MRI without the need for additional hardware for triggering.
View details for DOI 10.1002/nbm.3791
View details for PubMedID 28873255
In this study we investigated the changes in fiber length and diffusion parameters as a consequence of passive lengthening and stretching of the calf muscles. We hypothesized that changes in radial diffusivity (RD) are caused by changes in the muscle fiber cross sectional area (CSA) as a consequence of lengthening and shortening of the muscle. Diffusion Tensor MRI (DT-MRI) measurements were made twice in five healthy volunteers, with the foot in three different positions (30° plantarflexion, neutral position and 15° dorsiflexion). The muscles of the calf were manually segmented on co-registered high resolution anatomical scans, and maps of RD and axial diffusivity (AD) were reconstructed from the DT-MRI data. Fiber tractography was performed and mean fiber length was calculated for each muscle group. Significant negative correlations were found between the changes in RD and changes in fiber length in the dorsiflexed and plantarflexed positions, compared with the neutral foot position. Changes in AD did not correlate with changes in fiber length. Assuming a simple cylindrical model with constant volume for the muscle fiber, the changes in the muscle fiber CSA were calculated from the changes in fiber length. In line with our hypothesis, we observed a significant positive correlation of the CSA with the measured changes in RD. In conclusion, we showed that changes in diffusion coefficients induced by passive muscle stretching and lengthening can be explained by changes in muscle CSA, advancing the physiological interpretation of parameters derived from skeletal muscle DT-MRI.
View details for DOI 10.1002/nbm.3661
View details for Web of Science ID 000389141000015
View details for PubMedID 27862471
Musculoskeletal (dys-)function relies for a large part on muscle architecture which can be obtained using Diffusion-Tensor MRI (DT-MRI) and fiber tractography. However, reconstructed tracts often continue along the tendon or aponeurosis when using conventional methods, thus overestimating fascicle lengths. In this study, we propose a new method for semiautomatic segmentation of tendinous tissue using tract density (TD). We investigated the feasibility and repeatability of this method to quantify the mean fascicle length per muscle. Additionally, we examined whether the method facilitates measuring changes in fascicle length of lower leg muscles with different foot positions. Five healthy subjects underwent two DT-MRI scans of the right lower leg, with the foot in 15° dorsiflexion, neutral, and 30° plantarflexion positions. Repeatability of fascicle length measurements was assessed using Bland-Altman analysis. Changes in fascicle lengths between the foot positions were tested using a repeated multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). Bland-Altman analysis showed good agreement between repeated measurements. The coefficients of variation in neutral position were 8.3, 16.7, 11.2, and 10.4% for soleus (SOL), fibularis longus (FL), extensor digitorum longus (EDL), and tibialis anterior (TA), respectively. The plantarflexors (SOL and FL) showed significant increase in fascicle length from plantarflexion to dorsiflexion, whereas the dorsiflexors (EDL and TA) exhibited a significant decrease. The use of a tract density for semiautomatic segmentation of tendinous structures provides more accurate estimates of the mean fascicle length than traditional fiber tractography methods. The method shows moderate to good repeatability and allows for quantification of changes in fascicle lengths due to passive stretch.
View details for DOI 10.14814/phy2.13012
View details for PubMedID 28003562
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC5210383
To introduce a method for obtaining fat-suppressed images in real-time MRI of moving joints at 3 Tesla (T) using a bSSFP sequence with phase detection to enhance visualization of soft tissue structures during motion.The wrist and knee of nine volunteers were imaged with a real-time bSSFP sequence while performing dynamic tasks. For appropriate choice of sequence timing parameters, water and fat pixels showed an out-of-phase behavior, which was exploited to reconstruct water and fat images. Additionally, a 2-point Dixon sequence was used for dynamic imaging of the joints, and resulting water and fat images were compared with our proposed method.The joints could be visualized with good water-fat separation and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), while maintaining a relatively high temporal resolution (5 fps in knee imaging and 10 fps in wrist imaging). The proposed method produced images of moving joints with higher SNR and higher image quality when compared with the Dixon method.Water-fat separation is feasible in real-time MRI of moving knee and wrist at 3 T. PS-bSSFP offers movies with higher SNR and higher diagnostic quality when compared with Dixon scans. Magn Reson Med 78:58-68, 2017. © 2016 International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine.
View details for DOI 10.1002/mrm.26341
View details for PubMedID 27417271
To study diffusion-prepared neurography optimized for a large field-of-view (FOV) to include the neck and both shoulders. In a large FOV poor homogeneity of the magnetic field (B0 ) often leads to poor image quality and possibly to poor diagnostic accuracy. The aim was therefore to find an optimal (combination of) shimming method(s) for diffusion-prepared neurography in a large FOV.A 3D diffusion-prepared sequence with a large FOV was tested with and without the use of a susceptibility-matched pillow combined with image-based (IB) or standard shimming in six healthy volunteers on a 3T system. B0 , B1 , signal to noise ratio (SNR), and contrast to noise ratio (CNR) were compared between all protocols. Additionally, nerve visibility, fat suppression, artifacts, and overall image quality were ordinally (5-point scale) assessed by two readers. Furthermore, correlations between B0 and B1 (offset and variation) and SNR, CNR, and image quality were explored.The use of the susceptibility-matched pillow led to a 43% reduction of B0 variation over the brachial plexus compared to the situation without a pillow (P < 0.05). The combination of the pillow with IB-shimming and the optimized diffusion-prepared sequence resulted in good nerve visibility, good fat suppression, no artifacts that would hinder clinical diagnosis, and a good overall quality (median scores ≥4). Reducing B0 variation was associated with SNR, CNR, and the above-mentioned scored features (P < 0.05).The use of a susceptibility-matched pillow in combination with IB-shimming enables robust and high-quality neurography of the complete brachial plexus.
View details for DOI 10.1002/jmri.25025
View details for Web of Science ID 000373000300013
View details for PubMedID 26251015
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