Siemens, MGH develop prototype 128-Channel MRI system
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and Siemens Medical Solutions have developed in partnership a prototype 128-channel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system that is built from Siemens’ MAGNETOM Trio with Tim 3 Tesla (3T) MRI system. Specifically, the prototype is based on the 102X32 Tim architecture (with 102 coil elements integrated in 32 independent radio frequency [RF] channels) — that has been expanded to 128 independent RF channels and coil elements, according to a release.

The potential applications of 128-channel MRI scanning are being evaluated at MGH. Findings thus far have shown the potential to exceed current standards of image resolution and parallel imaging, with up to 25 times the speed.

The prototype is designed to be suitable for clinical and research imaging, especially in cardiology and advanced neurology applications. For example, a medical professional could identify subtle details deep within the body due to the higher signal-to-noise ratio, while taking a fraction of the time to scan the patient. Cardiac imaging could be conducted in a single breath hold and viewed in real time without radiation or drugs. Additionally, with the increase in channels, it is possible to see a shift to rapid three dimensional imaging with sub-millimeter isotropic resolutions.

"Labor-intensive medical imaging procedures could become simpler and completed in significantly less time with a 128-channel MRI," said Lawrence Wald, MD, director, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Core, Martinos Center, MGH. "This development could open new doors in cardiac, brain and abdominal MRI with the increase in speed and sensitivity."

The new 128-channel prototype MRI system pairs one coil element with one channel. In addition, a 128-channel coil that makes efficient use of the 128 RF channels has been developed. Proving the capabilities and technological advances of Siemens' MRI and Tim technology, the development and addition of 128 channels within the MAGNETOM Trio required minor changes to the system's existing architecture.