University of Heidelberg
Faculty of Medicine Mannheim
University Hospital Mannheim
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Investigating cardiac stimulation limits of MRI gradient coils using electromagnetic and electrophysiological simulations in human and canine body models.

V. Klein, M. Davids, L. Schad, L. Wald and B. Guérin

Magn Reson Med,, Press

Cardiac stimulation (CS) limits to gradient coil switching speed are difficult to measure in humans; instead, current regulatory guidelines (IEC 60601-2-33) are based on animal experiments and electric field-to-dB/dt conversion factors computed for a simple, homogeneous body model. We propose improvement to this methodology by using more detailed CS modeling based on realistic body models and electrophysiological models of excitable cardiac fibers. We compute electric fields induced by a solenoid, coplanar loops, and a commercial gradient coil in two human body models and a canine model. The canine simulations mimic previously published experiments. We generate realistic fiber topologies for the cardiac Purkinje and ventricular muscle fiber networks using rule-based algorithms, and evaluate CS thresholds using validated electrodynamic models of these fibers. We were able to reproduce the average measured canine CS thresholds within 5%. In all simulations, the Purkinje fibers were stimulated before the ventricular fibers, and therefore set the effective CS threshold. For the investigated gradient coil, simulated CS thresholds for the x-, y-, and z-axis were at least one order of magnitude greater than the International Electrotechnical Commission limit. We demonstrate an approach to simulate gradient-induced CS using a combination of electromagnetic and electrophysiological modeling. Pending additional validation, these simulations could guide the assessment of CS limits to MRI gradient coil switching speed. Such an approach may lead to less conservative, but still safe, operation limits, enabling the use of the maximum gradient amplitude versus slew rate parameter space of recent, powerful gradient systems.

Contact: Dr. Frank Zöllner last modified: 14.09.2020
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