A 16-channel receive, forced current excitation dual-transmit coil for breast imaging at 7T.
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PURPOSE: To enable high spatial and temporal breast imaging resolution via combined use of high field MRI, array coils, and forced current excitation (FCE) multi channel transmit. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A unilateral 16-channel receive array insert was designed for use in a transmit volume coil optimized for quadrature operation with dual-transmit RF shimming at 7 T. Signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) maps, g-factor maps, and high spatial and temporal resolution in vivo images were acquired to demonstrate the utility of the coil architecture. RESULTS: The dual-transmit FCE coil provided homogeneous excitation and the array provided an increase in average SNR of 3.3 times (max 10.8, min 1.5) compared to the volume coil in transmit/receive mode. High resolution accelerated in vivo breast imaging demonstrated the ability to achieve isotropic spatial resolution of 0.5 mm within clinically relevant 90 s scan times, as well as the ability to perform 1.0 mm isotropic resolution imaging, 7 s per dynamics, with the use of bidirectional SENSE acceleration of up to R = 9. CONCLUSION: The FCE design of the transmit coil easily accommodates the addition of a sixteen channel array coil. The improved spatial and temporal resolution provided by the high-field array coil with FCE dual-channel transmit will ultimately be beneficial in lesion detection and characterization.