Phase-field dithering for active catheter tracking

Charles L. Dumoulin, Richard P. Mallozzi, Robert D. Darrow, Ehud J. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


A strategy to increase the robustness of active MR tracking of microcoils in low signal-to-noise ratio conditions was developed and tested. The method employs dephasing magnetic field gradient pulses that are applied orthogonal to the frequency-encoding gradient pulse used in conventional point-source MR tracking. In subsequent acquisitions, the orthogonal dephasing gradient pulse is rotated while maintaining a perpendicular orientation with respect to the frequencyencoding gradient. The effect of the dephasing gradient is to apply a spatially dependent phase shift in directions perpendicular to the frequency-encoding gradient. Since the desired MR signal for robust MR tracking comes from the small volume of nuclear spins near the small detection coil, the desired signal is not dramatically altered by the dephasing gradient. Undesired MR signals arising from larger volumes (e.g., due to coupling with the body coil or surface coils), on the other hand, are dephased and reduced in signal intensity. Since the approach requires no a priori knowledge of the microcoil orientation with respect to the main magnetic field, data from several orthogonal dephasing gradients are acquired and analyzed in real time. One of several selection algorithms is employed to identify the "best" data for use in the coil localization algorithm. This approach was tested in flow phantoms and animal models, with several multiplexing schemes, including the Hadamard and zero-phase reference approaches. It was found to provide improved MR tracking of untuned microcoils. It also dramatically improved MR tracking robustness in low signal-to-noise-ratio conditions and permitted tracking of microcoils that were inductively coupled to the body coil.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1398-1403
Number of pages6
JournalMagnetic resonance in medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Active device tracking
  • MR catheters
  • MR tracking
  • MR-guided interventions
  • Phase-field dithering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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