Head-and-neck multichannel B1+ mapping and RF shimming of the carotid arteries using a 7T parallel-transmit head coil.
de Buck MHS., Kent JL., Jezzard P., Hess AT.
PURPOSE: Neurovascular MRI suffers from a rapid drop in B1 + into the neck when using transmit head coils at 7 T. One solution to improving B1 + magnitude in the major feeding arteries in the neck is to use custom RF shims on parallel-transmit head coils. However, calculating such shims requires robust multichannel B1 + maps in both the head and the neck, which is challenging due to low RF penetration into the neck, limited dynamic range of multichannel B1 + mapping techniques, and B0 sensitivity. We therefore sought a robust, large-dynamic-range, parallel-transmit field mapping protocol and tested whether RF shimming can improve carotid artery B1 + magnitude in practice. METHODS: A pipeline is presented that combines B1 + mapping data acquired using circularly polarized (CP) and CP2-mode RF shims at multiple voltages. The pipeline was evaluated by comparing the predicted and measured B1 + for multiple random transmit shims, and by assessing the ability of RF shimming to increase B1 + in the carotid arteries. RESULTS: The proposed method achieved good agreement between predicted and measured B1 + in both the head and the neck. The B1 + magnitude in the carotid arteries can be increased by 43% using tailored RF shims or by 37% using universal RF shims, while also improving the RF homogeneity compared with CP mode. CONCLUSION: B1 + in the neck can be increased using RF shims calculated from multichannel B1 + maps in both the head and the neck. This can be achieved using universal phase-only RF shims, facilitating easy implementation in existing sequences.