Long-Term Stability of Gradient Characteristics Warrants Model-Based Correction of Diffusion Weighting Bias

Yuxi Pang, Dariya I. Malyarenko, Lisa J. Wilmes, Ajit Devaraj, Ek T. Tan, Luca Marinelli, Axel Vom Endt, Johannes Peeters, Michael A. Jacobs, David C. Newitt, Thomas L. Chenevert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The study aims to test the long-term stability of gradient characteristics for model-based correction of diffusion weighting (DW) bias in an apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) for multisite imaging trials. Single spin echo (SSE) DWI of a long-tube ice-water phantom was acquired quarterly on six MR scanners over two years for individual diffusion gradient channels, along with B0 mapping, as a function of right-left (RL) and superior-inferior (SI) offsets from the isocenter. Additional double spin-echo (DSE) DWI was performed on two systems. The offset dependences of derived ADC were fit to 4th-order polynomials. Chronic shim gradients were measured from spatial derivatives of B0 maps along the tube direction. Gradient nonlinearity (GNL) was modeled using vendor-provided gradient field descriptions. Deviations were quantified by root-mean-square differences (RMSD), normalized to reference ice-water ADC, between the model and reference (RMSDREF), measurement and model (RMSDEXP), and temporal measurement variations (RMSDTMP). Average RMSDREF was 4.9 ± 3.2 (%RL) and –14.8 ± 3.8 (%SI), and threefold larger than RMSDEXP. RMSDTMP was close to measurement errors (~3%). GNL-induced bias across gradient systems varied up to 20%, while deviation from the model accounted at most for 6.5%, and temporal variation for less than 3% of ADC reproducibility error. Higher SSE RMSDEXP = 7.5–11% was reduced to 2.5–4.8% by DSE, consistent with the eddy current origin. Measured chronic shim gradients below 0.1 mT/m had a minor contribution to ADC bias. The demonstrated long-term stability of spatial ADC profiles and consistency with system GNL models justifies retrospective and prospective DW bias correction based on system gradient design models. Residual errors due to eddy currents and shim gradients should be corrected independent of GNL.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)364-375
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2022


  • Apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC)
  • Diffusion weighted imaging (DWI)
  • Gradient nonlinearity (GNL)
  • Longitudinal multi-platform ADC QC studies
  • Root-mean-square difference (RMSD)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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