We aim to develop and implement new approaches to the design of high performance receive arrays for pediatric MRI. The ultimate goal is flexible, light, comfortable arrays that enable children to undergo MRI without anesthesia. This project builds on our success in "Rapid, Robust Pediatric MRI" EB R01009690, Vasanawala, PI. In it, the investigators of the current proposal developed and prototyped the first dedicated pediatric abdominal array coil, testing it on hundreds of children. This design is being commercialized by GE Healthcare, and is on the current product roadmap. This is a major advance for pediatric MRI. The enhanced sensitivity and parallel imaging capability of this array has been critical for developing highly accelerated imaging methods based on compressed sensing, parallel imaging, and adaptive motion correction that were the other aims of the previous R01. Over the last four years, these developments resulted in a 250% increase in pediatric body MRI utilization at our institution and a 50% decrease in CT. Approach: This was our first step towards making MRI much more accessible and effective for pediatric patients. We are already well along in the next steps, the subject of this proposal. The project proceeds in a sequence of developments that range from short term goals that will have immediate clinical and commercial impact, to intermediate and long term goals that will fundamentally change the way receive array coils are designed, constructed, and used. The motivation for this project is pediatric MRI, because these patients are the most sensitive to the environment, and would benefit most from less intrusive arrays with higher performance. However, once these technologies are established, we expect translation to all receive arrays. The project will proceed in three development aims followed by a clinical validation study. The first is to develop and fabricate a second generation pediatric array coil that is more flexible, so that it will confom to different size pediatric patients. We will pilot test the coil in the clinic to determine performance and patient acceptance.
The second aim i s to use printed electronics technology to fabricate array coils that are completely flexible, light and can be incorporated into children's garments or blankets. Various configurations of these flexible coils will be pilot tested in the clinic.
The third aim i s to develop small, low power, high performance electronics for flexible array coils, with the ultimate goal of completely wireless arrays. The results of this aim will be combined with developments of the second aim to achieve wireless completely flexible printed coils. Finally, the new coils will be tested in the clinic to determine their relative abilities toyield diagnostically successful exams on children of varying ages compared to current coil arrays. Significance: The result will be a revolutionary change in the way that receives arrays are designed, constructed and used. This will increase the capability of pediatric MRI, due to the better fit of the coils to anatomy. Coils will be less formidable and less intrusive, increasing children's'acceptance.
We will develop flexible, light, comfortable pediatric MRI arrays so that more children can undergo MRI without anesthesia. Our developments will include semi-rigid array coils that conform to different sized pediatric patients and completely flexible array coils that are printed on fabric;these new coil designs will be combined with small low power receive electronics to allow very lightweight coil arrays, and ultimately completely wireless systems. The result will be a revolutionary change in receive array design, construction, capabilities and use: coils will be less formidable and intrusive, increasing children's'acceptance.