Rapid repetitive MRI of hyperpolarized (HP) gases using echoplanar imaging (EPI) has been theoretically investigated and experimentally demonstrated for 3He in human lung. A quantitative treatment of signal attenuation and magnetization consumption for the unique circumstance of a rapidly diffusing nonrenewable magnetization source has been performed. Rapid (compared to the human respiratory cycle) and repetitive imaging of the lung gas space with EPI and a single delivered bolus of Hp-3He is feasible using low flip angles, provided the voxels are not too small. A coarse-grid (32 x 64) EPI pulse sequence has been developed and implemented to image the lungs of healthy volunteers during rebreathing of a Hp-3He/N2 gas mixture. A set of three 10-mm axial slices was imaged every 0.12 sec for the 36 sec duration of rebreathing, yielding a real-time visualization of ventilation. Despite some mild artifacts, the images are of good quality and show changes in gas density related to respiratory physiology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-514
Number of pages8
JournalMagnetic resonance in medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999


  • EPI
  • MRI of hyperpolarized gases
  • MRI of lung
  • Rapid imaging


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