Hyperpolarized 13C magnetic resonance spectroscopy in pig models enables metabolic activity mapping, providing a powerful tool for the study of the heart physiology, but requires the development of dedicated radiofrequency coils, capable of providing large field of view with high signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) data. This work describes the simulations and the tests of a transmit-only (TX) volume coil/receive-only (RX) surface coil both designed for hyperpolarized studies of pig heart with a clinical 3T scanner. The coil characterization is performed by developing an SNR model for coil performance in terms of coil resistance, sample-induced resistance and magnetic field pattern. In particular, coil resistances were calculated from Ohm’s law, while magnetic field patterns and sample-induced resistances were calculated using a numerical finite-difference time-domain algorithm. Experimental phantom chemical shift image, showed good agreement with the theoretical SNR-vs-depth profiles and highlighted the advantage of the novel configuration over the single transmit–receive coils throughout the volume of interest for cardiac imaging in pig. Finally, the TX-birdcage/RX-circular configuration was tested by acquiring metabolic maps with hyperpolarized [1-13C] pyruvate injected i.v. in a pig. The results of the phantom and pig experiments show the ability of the coil configuration to image well the metabolites distribution.
Applied Magnetic Resonance, 2013, Vol 44, Issue 10, p. 1125-1138