T1 mapping performance and measurement repeatability: results from the multi-national T1 mapping standardization phantom program (T1MES)

Gabriella Captur, Abhiyan Bhandari, Rüdiger Brühl, Bernd Ittermann, Kathryn E Keenan, Ye Yang, Richard J Eames, Giulia Benedetti, Camilla Torlasco, Lewis Ricketts, Redha Boubertakh, Nasri Fatih, John P Greenwood, Leonie E M Paulis, Chris B Lawton, Chiara Bucciarelli-Ducci, Hildo J Lamb, Richard Steeds, Steve W Leung, Colin BerrySinitsyn Valentin, Andrew Flett, Charlotte de Lange, Francesco DeCobelli, Magalie Viallon, Pierre Croisille, David M Higgins, Andreas Greiser, Wenjie Pang, Christian Hamilton-Craig, Wendy E Strugnell, Tom Dresselaers, Andrea Barison, Dana Dawson, Andrew J Taylor, François-Pierre Mongeon, Sven Plein, Daniel Messroghli, Mouaz Al-Mallah, Stuart M Grieve, Massimo Lombardi, Jihye Jang, Michael Salerno, Nish Chaturvedi, Peter Kellman, David A Bluemke, Reza Nezafat, Peter Gatehouse, James C Moon* (Corresponding Author), T1MES Consortium

*Corresponding author for this work

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BACKGROUND: The T1 Mapping and Extracellular volume (ECV) Standardization (T1MES) program explored T1 mapping quality assurance using a purpose-developed phantom with Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Conformité Européenne (CE) regulatory clearance. We report T1 measurement repeatability across centers describing sequence, magnet, and vendor performance.

METHODS: Phantoms batch-manufactured in August 2015 underwent 2 years of structural imaging, B0 and B1, and "reference" slow T1 testing. Temperature dependency was evaluated by the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology and by the German Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt. Center-specific T1 mapping repeatability (maximum one scan per week to minimum one per quarter year) was assessed over mean 358 (maximum 1161) days on 34 1.5 T and 22 3 T magnets using multiple T1 mapping sequences. Image and temperature data were analyzed semi-automatically. Repeatability of serial T1 was evaluated in terms of coefficient of variation (CoV), and linear mixed models were constructed to study the interplay of some of the known sources of T1 variation.

RESULTS: Over 2 years, phantom gel integrity remained intact (no rips/tears), B0 and B1 homogenous, and "reference" T1 stable compared to baseline (% change at 1.5 T, 1.95 ± 1.39%; 3 T, 2.22 ± 1.44%). Per degrees Celsius, 1.5 T, T1 (MOLLI 5s(3s)3s) increased by 11.4 ms in long native blood tubes and decreased by 1.2 ms in short post-contrast myocardium tubes. Agreement of estimated T1 times with "reference" T1 was similar across Siemens and Philips CMR systems at both field strengths (adjusted R2 ranges for both field strengths, 0.99-1.00). Over 1 year, many 1.5 T and 3 T sequences/magnets were repeatable with mean CoVs < 1 and 2% respectively. Repeatability was narrower for 1.5 T over 3 T. Within T1MES repeatability for native T1 was narrow for several sequences, for example, at 1.5 T, Siemens MOLLI 5s(3s)3s prototype number 448B (mean CoV = 0.27%) and Philips modified Look-Locker inversion recovery (MOLLI) 3s(3s)5s (CoV 0.54%), and at 3 T, Philips MOLLI 3b(3s)5b (CoV 0.33%) and Siemens shortened MOLLI (ShMOLLI) prototype 780C (CoV 0.69%). After adjusting for temperature and field strength, it was found that the T1 mapping sequence and scanner software version (both P < 0.001 at 1.5 T and 3 T), and to a lesser extent the scanner model (P = 0.011, 1.5 T only), had the greatest influence on T1 across multiple centers.

CONCLUSION: The T1MES CE/FDA approved phantom is a robust quality assurance device. In a multi-center setting, T1 mapping had performance differences between field strengths, sequences, scanner software versions, and manufacturers. However, several specific combinations of field strength, sequence, and scanner are highly repeatable, and thus, have potential to provide standardized assessment of T1 times for clinical use, although temperature correction is required for native T1 tubes at least.

Original languageEnglish
Article number31
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2020

Bibliographical note

We thank all other members and contributors of the T1MES consortiumlisted in the Supplementary Material, and we also thank staff at SiemensHealthineers, Philips Healthcare, and General Electric Healthcare for theirexpert review of the final manuscript. Dr. Matthias Friedrich served as a JCMRGuest Editor for this manuscript

This program was funded by the following grants to GC: European Cardiovascular Imaging (EACVI) of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC),the UK National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Center(BRC) at University College London (UCL, #BRC/199/JM/101320), and the BartsCharity (#1107/2356/MRC0140). GC is supported by the National Institute forHealth Research Rare Diseases Translational Research Collaboration (NIHR RD-TRC) and by the NIHR UCL Hospitals Biomedical Research Center. JCM is directlyand indirectly supported by the UCL Hospitals NIHR BRC and Biomedical Re-search Unit at Barts Hospital respectively. This work was supported by the NIHRinfrastructure at Leeds.CBD is supported directly and indirectly by the NIHR Biomedical ResearchCentre at University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Bristol. The views expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NHS, the National Institute for Health Research, or the Department of Health and Social Care.NIST disclaimer: Contribution of the National Institute of Standards andTechnology not subject to copyright in the United States. Certain commercial instruments and software are identified to specify the experimental study adequately. This does not imply endorsement by NIST orthat the instruments and software are the best available for the purpose. PTB disclaimer: Certain commercial instruments and software are identified to specify the experimental study adequately. This does not imply endorsement by PTB or that the instruments and software are the bestavailable for the purpose.


  • Calibration
  • Extracellular volume
  • Phantom
  • Repeatability
  • Standardization
  • T1 mapping
  • T mapping
  • 3T
  • MRI
  • UND
  • T-1 mapping


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