Imaging performance of a dedicated radiation transparent RF coil on a 1.0 Tesla inline MRI-linac
This work describes the first imaging studies on a 1.0 Tesla inline MRI-Linac using a dedicated transmit/receive RF body coil that has been designed to be completely radio transparent and provide optimum imaging performance over a large patient opening.
A series of experiments was performed on the MRI-Linac to investigate the performance and imaging characteristics of a new dedicated volumetric RF coil: (1) numerical electromagnetic simulations were used to measure transmit efficiency in two patient positions; (2) image quality metrics of signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), ghosting and uniformity were assessed in a large diameter phantom with no radiation beam; (3) radiation induced effects were investigated in both the raw data (k-space) and image sequences acquired with simultaneous irradiation; (4) radiation dose was measured with and without image acquisition; (5) RF heating was studied using an MR-compatible fluoroptic thermometer and; (6) the in vivo image quality and versatility of the coil was demonstrated in normal healthy subjects for both supine and standing positions.
Daily phantom measurements demonstrated excellent imaging performance with stable SNR over a period of 3 months (42.6 ± 0.9). Simultaneous irradiation produced no statistical change in image quality (p > 0.74) and no interference in raw data for a 20 × 20 cm radiation field. The coil was found to be efficient over large volumes and negligible RF heating was observed. Volunteer scans acquired in both supine and standing positions provided artefact free images with good anatomical visualisation.
The first completely radio transparent RF coil for use on a 1.0 Tesla MRI-Linac has been described. There is no impact on either the imaging or dosimetry performance with a simultaneous radiation beam. The open design enables imaging and radiotherapy guidance in a variety of positons.