Rapid assessment of pulmonary gas transport with hyperpolarized 129Xe MRI using a 3D radial double golden-means acquisition with variable flip angles

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To demonstrate the feasibility of using a 3D radial double golden-means acquisition with variable flip angles to monitor pulmonary gas transport in a single breath hold with hyperpolarized xenon-129 MRI.


Hyperpolarized xenon-129 MRI scans with interleaved gas-phase and dissolved-phase excitations were performed using a 3D radial double golden-means acquisition in mechanically ventilated rabbits. The flip angle was either held fixed at 15 ° or 5 °, or it was varied linearly in ascending or descending order between 5 ° and 15 ° over a sampling interval of 1000 spokes. Dissolved-phase and gas-phase images were reconstructed at high resolution (32 × 32 × 32 matrix size) using all 1000 spokes, or at low resolution (22 × 22 × 22 matrix size) using 400 spokes at a time in a sliding-window fashion. Based on these sliding-window images, relative change maps were obtained using the highest mean flip angle as the reference, and aggregated pixel-based changes were tracked.


Although the signal intensities in the dissolve-phase maps were mostly constant in the fixed flip-angle acquisitions, they varied significantly as a function of average flip angle in the variable flip-angle acquisitions. The latter trend reflects the underlying changes in observed dissolve-phase magnetization distribution due to pulmonary gas uptake and transport.


3D radial double golden-means acquisitions with variable flip angles provide a robust means for rapidly assessing lung function during a single breath hold, thereby constituting a particularly valuable tool for imaging uncooperative or pediatric patient populations.

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