A size‐adaptive 32‐channel array coil for awake infant neuroimaging at 3 Tesla MRI
Magnetic Resonance in Medicine
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during infancy poses challenges due to practical, methodological, and analytical considerations. The aim of this study was to implement a hardware-related approach to increase subject compliance for fMRI involving awake infants. To accomplish this, we designed, constructed, and evaluated an adaptive 32-channel array coil. To allow imaging with a close-fitting head array coil for infants aged 1-18 months, an adjustable head coil concept was developed.
... The coil setup facilitates a half-seated scanning position to improve the infant's overall scan compliance. Earmuff compartments are integrated directly into the coil housing to enable the usage of sound protection without losing a snug fit of the coil around the infant's head. The constructed array coil was evaluated from phantom data using bench-level metrics, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) performances, and accelerated imaging capabilities for both in-plane and simultaneous multislice (SMS) reconstruction methodologies. Furthermore, preliminary fMRI data were acquired to evaluate the in vivo coil performance. Phantom data showed a 2.7-fold SNR increase on average when compared with a commercially available 32-channel head coil. At the center and periphery regions of the infant head phantom, the SNR gains were measured to be 1.25-fold and 3-fold, respectively. The infant coil further showed favorable encoding capabilities for undersampled k-space reconstruction methods and SMS techniques. An infant-friendly head coil array was developed to improve sensitivity, spatial resolution, accelerated encoding, motion insensitivity, and subject tolerance in pediatric MRI. The adaptive 32-channel array coil is well-suited for fMRI acquisitions in awake infants.