Background: The need for background error correction in phase-contrast flow analysis has historically posed a challenge in cardiac magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. While previous studies have shown that phantom correction improves flow measurements, it impedes scanner workflow. Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of self-calibrated non-linear phase-contrast correction on flows in pediatric and congenital cardiac MR compared to phantom correction as the standard. Materials and methods: We retrospectively identified children who had great-vessel phase-contrast and static phantom sequences acquired between January 2015 and June 2015. We applied a novel correction method to each phase-contrast sequence post hoc. Uncorrected, non-linear, and phantom-corrected flows were compared using intraclass correlation. We used paired t-tests to compare how closely non-linear and uncorrected flows approximated phantom-corrected flows. In children without intra- or extracardiac shunts or significant semilunar valvular regurgitation, we used paired t-tests to compare how closely the uncorrected pulmonary-to-systemic flow ratio (Qp:Qs) and non-linear Qp:Qs approximated phantom-corrected Qp:Qs. Results: We included 211 diagnostic-quality phase-contrast sequences (93 aorta, 74 main pulmonary artery [MPA], 21 left pulmonary artery [LPA], 23 right pulmonary artery [RPA]) from 108 children (median age 15 years, interquartile range 11–18 years). Intraclass correlation showed strong agreement between non-linear and phantom-corrected flow measurements but also between uncorrected and phantom-corrected flow measurements. Non-linear flow measurements did not more closely approximate phantom-corrected measurements than did uncorrected measurements for any vessel. In 39 children without significant shunting or regurgitation, mean non-linear Qp:Qs (1.07; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.01, 1.13) was no closer than mean uncorrected Qp:Qs (1.06; 95% CI = 1.00, 1.13) to mean phantom-corrected Qp:Qs (1.02; 95% CI = 0.98, 1.06). Conclusion: Despite strong agreement between self-calibrated non-linear and phantom correction, cardiac flows and shunt calculations with non-linear correction were no closer to phantom-corrected measurements than those without background correction. However, phantom-corrected flows also demonstrated minimal differences from uncorrected flows. These findings suggest that in the current era, more accurate phase-contrast flow measurements might limit the need for background correction. Further investigation of the clinical impact and optimal methods of background correction in the pediatric and congenital cardiac population is needed.
- Background correction
- Congenital heart disease
- Magnetic resonance imaging
- Phase contrast
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging