PURPOSE: To describe a real-time MR imaging platform for synchronous, multi-planar visualization of upper airway collapse in obstructive sleep apnea at 3 Tesla (T) to promote natural sleep with an emphasis on lateral wall visualization. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A real-time imaging platform was configured for sleep MR imaging which used a cartesian, partial k-space gradient-echo sequence with an inherent temporal resolution of 3 independent slices every 2 s. Combinations of axial, mid-sagittal, and coronal scan planes were acquired. The system was tested in five subjects with polysomnography-proven obstructive sleep apnea during sleep, with synchronous acquisition of respiratory effort and combined oral-nasal airflow data. RESULTS: Sleep was initiated and maintained to allow demonstration of sleep-induced, upper airway collapse as illustrated in two subjects when using a real-time, sleep MR imaging platform at 3T. Lateral wall collapse could not be visualized on mid-sagittal imaging alone and was best characterized on multiplanar coronal and axial imaging planes. CONCLUSION: Our dedicated sleep MR imaging platform permitted an acoustic environment of constant "white noise" which was conducive to sleep onset and sleep maintenance in obstructive sleep apnea patients at 3T. Apneic episodes, specifically the lateral walls, were more accurately characterized with synchronous, multiplanar acquisitions. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2013;. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
View details for DOI 10.1002/jmri.24029
View details for PubMedID 23390078