Acquisition guidelines and quality assessment tools for analyzing neonatal diffusion tensor MRI data

Heemskerk, A M, Leemans, A, Plaisier, A, Pieterman, K, Lequin, M H, Dudink, Jeroen


American Journal of Neuroradiology 34 (8), p. 1496-1505


Diffusion tensor imaging is a valuable measure in clinical settings to assess diagnosis and prognosis of neonatal brain development. However, obtaining reliable images is not straightforward because of the tissue characteristics of the neonatal brain and the high likelihood of motion artifacts. In this review, we present guidelines on how to acquire DTI data of the neonatal brain and recommend high-quality data acquisition and processing as an essential means to obtain accurate and robust parametric maps. Sudden head movements are problematic for DTI in neonates, and these may lead to incorrect values. We describe strategies to minimize the corrupting effects both in terms of acquisition (eg, more gradient directions) and postprocessing (eg, tensor estimation methods). In addition, tools are described that can help assess whether a dataset is of sufficient quality for further assessment.