Visualizing water clearance in the lung with MRI

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Current indirect measurements of alveolar fluid clearance (AFC) suggest that the rate of fluid clearance correlates with morbidity and mortality in patients with pulmonary edema. In a traditional AFC-measurement, fluid laced with a tracer macromolecule is instilled into the lung and thereafter repeated samples of the instilled fluid are extracted from the lung's fluid-filled airspaces. The change in concentration of the tracer molecule indicates the AFC-rate. In this work, a new MRI technique was developed to image lung water clearance by adding Gadolinium-DTPA to the instilled fluid. As fluid is absorbed by the animal, the concentration of gadolinium will increase, reducing theT1 relaxation time. By repeatedly measuring theT1 relaxation time, the AFC can be tracked over time with high spatial resolution. The new technique was tested both in phantoms and 10 Yorkshire piglets. Magn Reson Med 60:230–235, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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