Perfluorinated gases, particularly C2F6, are potentially suitable alternatives to hyperpolarized noble gases for pulmonary air-space spin density and diffusion MRI. This work focuses mainly on 19F imaging of C2F6 gas in healthy and emphysematous explanted lungs, avoiding regulatory issues of human in vivo measurements. Three-dimensional gradient echo and spin echo spin density images of human lungs can be made in 10 s with adequate signal-to-noise, demonstrating the feasibility for breathing dynamics to be captured during a succession of short breath holds. As expected, the spin echo images have much smaller susceptibility artifacts than the gradient echo images. 19F and 3He images of the same lungs are compared. The apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) of C2F6 is sensitive to restrictions imposed by the lung microstructure: the average ADC is measured to be 0.018 cm2/s in healthy lungs versus 0.031 cm2/s in emphysematous lungs at a diffusion time Δ = 2.2 ms. The low free diffusivity of pure C2F6 (Do = 0.033 cm2/s) places it in a regime where the ADC measurement allows the surface-to-volume ratio to be determined in each voxel, a potentially valuable quantitative characterization of regional lung tissue destruction in emphysema.
- Hyperpolarized gas
- Perfluorinated gas