Purpose: To assess the feasibility and optimize the accuracy of the multibreath wash-in hyperpolarized helium 3 (3He) approach to ventilation measurement by using magnetic resonance (MR) imaging as well as to examine the physiologic differences that this approach reveals among nonsmokers, asymptomatic smokers, and patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Materials and Methods: All experiments were approved by the local institutional review board and compliant with HIPAA. Informed consent was obtained from all subjects. To measure fractional ventilation, the authors administered a series of identical normoxic hyperpolarized gas breaths to the subject; after each inspiration, an image was acquired during a short breath hold. Signal intensity buildup was fit to a recursive model that regionally solves for fractional ventilation. This measurement was successfully performed in nine subjects: three healthy nonsmokers (one man, two women; mean age, 45 years ± 4), three asymptomatic smokers (three men; mean age, 51 years ± 5), and three patients with COPD (three men; mean age, 59 years ± 5). Repeated measures analysis of variance was performed, followed by post hoc tests with Bonferroni correction, to assess the differences among the three cohorts. Results: Whole-lung fractional ventilation as measured with hyperpolarized 3He in all subjects (mean, 0.24 ± 0.06) showed a strong correlation with global fractional ventilation as measured with a gas delivery device (R2 = 0.96, P < .001). Significant differences between the means of whole-lung fractional ventilation (F2,10 = 7.144, P = .012) and fractional ventilation heterogeneity (F2,10 = 7.639, P = .010) were detected among cohorts. In patients with COPD, the protocol revealed regions wherein fractional ventilation varied substantially over multiple breaths. Conclusion: Multibreath wash-in hyperpolarized 3He MR imaging of fractional ventilation is feasible in human subjects and demonstrates very good global (whole-lung) precision. Fractional ventilation measurement with this physiologically realistic approach reveals significant differences between patients with COPD and healthy subjects. To minimize error, several sources of potential bias must be corrected when calculating fractional ventilation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging