The use of time to maximum enhancement to indicate areas of ablation following the treatment of liver tumours with high-intensity focused ultrasound.
Noterdaeme O., Leslie TA., Kennedy JE., Phillips RR., Brady M.
The aim of this study was to investigate the use of time to maximum enhancement (t(max)) for each voxel in contrast-enhanced MRI (CE-MRI) as a non-invasive tool to determine areas of necrosis following treatment of liver tumours with high-intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU) and, having established the utility of t(max) maps, to develop a three-dimensional (3-D) representation to display this information concisely. 3-D T(1) weighted fast spoiled gradient echo images of the liver were acquired before and after administration of contrast agent. The CE-MR images were aligned to the pre-contrast volume and an estimate of t(max) was obtained for each voxel. Such pre- and post-contrast image sets were acquired before and after ablation. The t(max) maps before and after HIFU treatment were correlated with the procedure notes, radiological reports and gross histological specimen. Finally, 3-D t(max) maps of the whole liver were reconstructed to show all areas of abnormal tissue perfusion. Normal, healthy liver tissue uniformly enhances maximally after approximately 1 min. The computed t(max) maps accurately delineated areas of abnormal contrast agent uptake, corresponding to tumour deposits. Changes in t(max) and non-enhancing voxels after treatment correlate well with volumes targeted during ablation and the necrotic regions seen on gross histological specimens. Alignment of the contrast-enhanced images with the pre-contrast volume greatly improved the conspicuity of the t(max) maps. We conclude that t(max) maps and their 3-D views can be used as a non-invasive tool to assess and potentially to quantify the success of HIFU ablation, and concisely represent the large number of CE-MRI data.