Background: To study early neurodevelopment in preterm infants, evaluation of brain maturation and injury is increasingly performed using diffusion tensor imaging, for which the reliability of underlying data is paramount. Objective: To review the literature to evaluate acquisition and processing methodology in diffusion tensor imaging studies of preterm infants. Materials and methods: We searched the Embase, Medline, Web of Science and Cochrane databases for relevant papers published between 2003 and 2013. The following keywords were included in our search: prematurity, neuroimaging, brain, and diffusion tensor imaging. Results: We found 74 diffusion tensor imaging studies in preterm infants meeting our inclusion criteria. There was wide variation in acquisition and processing methodology, and we found incomplete reporting of these settings. Nineteen studies (26%) reported the use of neonatal hardware. Data quality assessment was not reported in 13 (18%) studies. Artefacts-correction and data-exclusion was not reported in 33 (45%) and 18 (24%) studies, respectively. Tensor estimation algorithms were reported in 56 (76%) studies but were often suboptimal. Conclusion: Diffusion tensor imaging acquisition and processing settings are incompletely described in current literature, vary considerably, and frequently do not meet the highest standards.

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Keywords Diffusion tensor imaging, Image acquisition, Magnetic resonance imaging, Neonate, Prematurity, Systematic review
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Journal Pediatric Radiology: roentgenology, nuclear medicine, ultrasonics, CT, MRI
Pieterman, K, Plaisier, A, Govaert, P, Leemans, A, Leguin, M, & Dudink, J. (2015). Data quality in diffusion tensor imaging studies of the preterm brain: a systematic review. Pediatric Radiology: roentgenology, nuclear medicine, ultrasonics, CT, MRI, 45(9), 1372–1381. doi:10.1007/s00247-015-3307-y