Optimal b-values for diffusion kurtosis imaging of the liver and pancreas in MR examinations

Published:October 07, 2019DOI:


      • Reduction of number of b-values from 7 to 4 does not affect DKI parameters.
      • Set of four b-values: 0, 500, 1500 and 2000 s/mm2 may be applied in routine practice.
      • DKI acquisition time can be shortened by up to 36% compared to time for 7 b-values.



      The objective was to optimise the number of b-values for diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI) of the liver and pancreas in MR examinations to ensure reliable results with the shortest possible acquisition time.


      Twenty healthy volunteers underwent DKI at 3.0 T Siemens Magnetom Skyra using 7 b-values (b = 0, 200, 500, 750, 1000, 1500, 2000 s/mm2). The regions of interest (ROIs) were placed in the liver (right lobe, left lobe) and pancreas (head, tail). DKI parameters (Dapp, Kapp) for ROIs were calculated for 7 b-values utilising the nonlinear least-squares (NLLS) Marquardt-Levenberg algorithm. All calculations were repeated for ten subsets of data, with the number of b-values reduced to 4. DKI parameters calculated for subsets were compared with parameters calculated for all 7 b-values.


      The correlation coefficient between DKI parameters calculated for 7 b-values and subsets ranged from 0.65 to 1.00. The coefficient of variation (CoV) of DKI parameters calculated for a group of volunteers varied from 8% to 42% and was not affected by the reduction of the b-values number. Only one subset of data (b = 0, 500, 1500 and 2000 s/mm2) simultaneously met two criteria: no statistical difference (p < 0.05) from results obtained for 7 b-values and very good correlation with them.


      DKI acquisition with 4 b-values (b = 0, 500, 1500 and 2000 s/mm2), compared to DKI acquisition utilising 7 b-values, allowed for the reduction of acquisition time by 36%, without affecting the calculated DKI parameters.


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