One of the main safety concerns in MR is heating of the subject due to radiofrequency (RF) exposure. Recently was shown that local peak temperatures can reach dangerous values and the most prominent parameter for accurate temperature estimations is thermoregulation. Therefore, the goal of this research is testing the feasibility of measuring thermoregulation in vivo using MR methods.
Theory and Methods
The calves of 13 volunteers were scanned at 3 tesla. A Proton Resonance Frequency Shift method was used for temperature measurement. Arterial Spin Labeling and phase contrast scans were used for perfusion and flow measurements respectively. The calves were monitored during extreme RF exposure (20 W/kg, 16 min) and after physical exercise.
Temperature increases due to RF absorption (range of the 90th percentile of all volunteers: 1.1–2.5°C) matched with the reference skin temperature changes. Increases in perfusion and flow were defined on the whole leg and normalized to baseline. Perfusion showed a significant increase due to RF heating (ratio compared with baseline: 1.28 ± 0.37; P < 0.05), the influence of exercise was much greater, however (2.97 ± 2.45, P < 0.01).
This study represents a first exploration of measuring thermoregulation, which will become essential when new safety guidelines are based on thermal dose. Magn Reson Med 75:1743–1751, 2016. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.