Simultaneous MRI of lung structure and perfusion in a single breathhold

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To develop and demonstrate a breathheld 3D radial ultrashort echo time (UTE) acquisition to visualize co-registered lung perfusion and vascular structure.

Materials and Methods:

Nine healthy dogs were scanned twice at 3 Tesla (T). Contrast-enhanced pulmonary perfusion scans were acquired with a temporally interleaved three-dimensional (3D) radial UTE (TE = 0.08 ms) sequence in a breathhold (1 s time frames over a 33 s breathhold). The 3D breathheld volume was reconstructed into time-resolved perfusion datasets, and a composite vascular structure dataset. For structural comparison, a 5 min respiratory-gated 3D radial UTE scan was acquired. Data were analyzed by quantitative metrics and radiologist scoring.


Appropriate time-course of contrast was seen in all subjects. Right ventricle to aorta transit times were 7.4 ± 2.0 s. Relative lung enhancement was a factor of 8.4 ± 1.5. Radiologist scoring showed similarly excellent visualization of the pulmonary arteries to the subsegmental level in breathheld (94% of cases) and respiratory-gated (100% of cases) acquisitions (P = 0.33) despite the aggressive under sampling in the breathheld scan. Similarly, differentiation of lung tissue and airways was achieved by both acquisition methods.


A time-resolved 3D radial UTE sequence for simultaneous imaging of pulmonary perfusion and co-registered vascular structure is feasible. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2015;41:52–59. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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