Dynamic echo planar MR imaging of lung ventilation with hyperpolarized 3He in normal subjects and patients with severe emphysema

David S. Gierada, Brian Saam, Dmitriy Yablonskiy, Joel D. Cooper, Stephen S. Lefrak, Mark S. Conradi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


We applied the rapid imaging capability of echo planar MR pulse sequences and hyperpolarized 3He ventilation imaging to observe the dynamic distribution of gas in the lungs during breathing. Findings in five normal volunteers (age 19-53 years) and four patients with severe smoking-related emphysema (age 56-71 years) were compared. All studies were performed on a 1.5 T whole body scanner using a 30 cm Helmholtz surface coil and 0.51 of 20- 40% polarized 3He mixed with 1-2 1 nitrogen. Our echo planar imaging pulse sequence allowed acquisition of each image in 0.04 s, with a pixel size of 7 mm2 (TR = 40.5 ms, TE = 12.1 ms, flip angle = 22°, echo train length = 32, matrix = 32 x 64, field of view = 225 x 450 mm, slice thickness = 10 mm). Imaging was performed in the transaxial plane repeatedly at 3, 10 or 20 evenly spaced levels, immediately before and during breathing of the gas mixture. In normal subjects during the first breath, 3He appeared throughout each slice first in the mid lungs, then in the lower lungs, then in the upper lungs, with slightly greater signal in the dependent posterior regions. In patients with emphysema, sequential filling of different lung regions was seen during the first breath, with delayed filling of other regions observed during rebreathing and room air washout. We conclude that subsecond dynamic 3He MR ventilation imaging can reveal normal and abnormal ventilation phenomena not seen with conventional scintigraphic methods, and offers another approach to the study of ventilation physiology and pathophysiology. Copyright (C) 2000 John Wiley and Sons, Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)176-181
Number of pages6
JournalNMR in biomedicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 2000


  • Dynamic imaging
  • EPI
  • Emphysema
  • Hyperpolarized gases
  • Lung ventilation
  • MRI


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