Multislice fractional ventilation imaging in large animals with hyperpolarized gas MRI

Kiarash Emami, Yinan Xu, Hooman Hamedani, Yi Xin, Harrilla Profka, Jennia Rajaei, Stephen Kadlecek, Masaru Ishii, Rahim R. Rizi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


The noninvasive assessment of regional lung ventilation is of critical importance in the quantification of the severity of disease and evaluation of response to therapy in many pulmonary diseases. This work presents, for the first time, the implementation of a hyperpolarized (HP) gas MRI technique to measure whole-lung regional fractional ventilation (r) in Yorkshire pigs (n=5) through the use of a gas mixing and delivery device in the supine position. The proposed technique utilizes a series of back-to-back HP gas breaths with images acquired during short end-inspiratory breath-holds. In order to decouple the radiofrequency pulse decay effect from the ventilatory signal build-up in the airways, the regional distribution of the flip angle (α) was estimated in the imaged slices by acquiring a series of back-to-back images with no interscan time delay during a breath-hold at the tail end of the ventilation sequence. Analysis was performed to assess the sensitivity of the multislice ventilation model to noise, oxygen and the number of flip angle images. The optimal α value was determined on the basis of the minimization of the error in r estimation: αopt=5-6o for the set of acquisition parameters in pigs. The mean r values for the group of pigs were 0.27±0.09, 0.35±0.06 and 0.40±0.04 for the ventral, middle and dorsal slices, respectively (excluding conductive airways r>0.9). A positive gravitational (ventral-dorsal) ventilation gradient effect was present in all animals. The trachea and major conductive airways showed a uniform near-unity r value, with progressively smaller values corresponding to smaller diameter airways, and ultimately leading to lung parenchyma. The results demonstrate the feasibility of the measurement of the fractional ventilation in large species, and provide a platform to address the technical challenges associated with long breathing time scales through the optimization of acquisition parameters in species with a pulmonary physiology very similar to that of humans.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1015-1025
Number of pages11
JournalNMR in biomedicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • Fractional ventilation
  • Hyperpolarized gas MRI
  • Mechanical ventilation
  • Pulmonary ventilation
  • Quantitative lung imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Spectroscopy


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