Novel techniques for MR imaging of pulmonary airspaces.
Hyperpolarized gas- and molecular oxygen-enhanced MR imaging are two new techniques for high-resolution MR imaging of pulmonary airspaces. Both techniques produce excellent images in a safe, reproducible, and technically feasible manner. Because morphologic and functional information is obtained, and radiation is not used, these techniques may prove ideal for serially evaluating patients with a variety of lung diseases that affect pulmonary ventilation, such as cystic fibrosis, emphysema, asthma, or bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome in lung transplant recipients. At present, the greatest clinical experience is with hyperpolarized He-3-enhanced MR imaging. This technique is limited, however, by the limited availability of He-3, by its polarization requirements, and by the need to tune the MR system to the resonant frequency of the gas. There is less clinical experience with oxygen-enhanced MR imaging. Although this technique produces images with more inherent noise than hyperpolarized He-3 imaging, this problem can be overcome by signal averaging. Oxygen-enhanced imaging has the major advantages of lower cost and ready availability. For oxygen-enhanced imaging, the MR imaging system does not need to be readjusted; imaging is performed at the conventional hydrogen proton frequency.
McAdams, HP; Hatabu, H; Donnelly, LF; Chen, Q; Tadamura, E; MacFall, JR
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