Effect of off-frequency sampling in magnetic resonance elastography

Curtis L. Johnson, Danchin D. Chen, William C. Olivero, Bradley P. Sutton, John G Georgiadis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In magnetic resonance elastography (MRE), shear waves at a certain frequency are encoded through bipolar gradients that switch polarity at a controlled encoding frequency and are offset in time to capture wave propagation using a controlled sampling frequency. In brain MRE, there is a possibility that the mechanical actuation frequency is different from the vibration frequency, leading to a mismatch with encoding and sampling frequencies. This mismatch can occur in brain MRE from causes both extrinsic and intrinsic to the brain, such as scanner bed vibrations or active damping in the head. The purpose of this work was to investigate how frequency mismatch can affect MRE shear stiffness measurements. Experiments were performed on a dual-medium agarose gel phantom, and the results were compared with numerical simulations to quantify these effects. It is known that off-frequency encoding alone results in a scaling of wave amplitude, and it is shown here that off-frequency sampling can result in two main effects: (1) errors in the overall shear stiffness estimate of the material on the global scale and (2) local variations appearing as stiffer and softer structures in the material. For small differences in frequency, it was found that measured global stiffness of the brain could theoretically vary by up to 12.5% relative to actual stiffness with local variations of up to 3.7% of the mean stiffness. It was demonstrated that performing MRE experiments at a frequency other than that of tissue vibration can lead to artifacts in the MRE stiffness images, and this mismatch could explain some of the large-scale scatter of stiffness data or lack of repeatability reported in the brain MRE literature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-212
Number of pages8
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012


  • Dynamic model
  • Magnetic resonance elastography
  • Off-frequency sampling
  • Shear waves
  • Tissue vibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Biomedical Engineering


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