Calorimetric calibration of head coil SAR estimates displayed on a clinical MR scanner

Krzysztof R. Gorny, Matt A. Bernstein, Joel P. Felmlee, Heidi A. Ward, Kiaran P. McGee, Diana M. Lanners, Kendall H. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Calorimetric measurements were performed to determine the average specific absorption rates (SAR) resulting from MRI head examinations. The data were compared with average head coil SAR estimates displayed by the MR scanner in order to refine the imaging protocols used in imaging patients with implanted deep brain stimulators (DBS). The experiments were performed using transmit-receive (TR) head coil on clinical 1.5 T General Electric MR scanners running 11.0 M4 revision software. The average applied SAR was derived from temperature increases measured inside a head phantom, due to deposition of RF energy during MRI scanning with a spin echo imaging sequence. The measurements were repeated for varied levels of RF transmit gain (TG) and analyzed with a range of entered patient weights. The measurements demonstrate that the ratio of the actual average head SAR to the scanner-displayed value (coil correction factor) decreases for decreasing TG or for increasing patient weight and may vary between 0.3 and 2.1. An additional retrospective patient study, however, shows that not all combinations of TG and patient weight are encountered clinically and, instead, TG generally increases with the patient weight. As a result, a much narrower range of coil correction factors (e.g., typically 0.5-1.0) will be encountered in practice. The calorimetric method described in this work could aid the physicians and technologists in refinement of the model-dependent SAR estimates displayed by the MR scanner, and in selection of imaging parameters for MR head examinations within allowable SAR safety levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2565-2576
Number of pages12
JournalPhysics in medicine and biology
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 21 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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