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Measurement of the distribution of ventilation-perfusion ratios in the human lung with proton MRI: comparison with the multiple inert-gas elimination technique.


We have developed a novel functional proton magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technique to measure regional ventilation-perfusion (V̇A/Q̇) ratio in the lung. We conducted a comparison study of this technique in healthy subjects (n = 7, age = 42 ± 16 yr, Forced expiratory volume in 1 s = 94% predicted), by comparing data measured using MRI to that obtained from the multiple inert gas elimination technique (MIGET). Regional ventilation measured in a sagittal lung slice using Specific Ventilation Imaging was combined with proton density measured using a fast gradient-echo sequence to calculate regional alveolar ventilation, registered with perfusion images acquired using arterial spin labeling, and divided on a voxel-by-voxel basis to obtain regional V̇A/Q̇ ratio. LogSDV̇ and LogSDQ̇, measures of heterogeneity derived from the standard deviation (log scale) of the ventilation and perfusion vs. V̇A/Q̇ ratio histograms respectively, were calculated. On a separate day, subjects underwent study with MIGET and LogSDV̇ and LogSDQ̇ were calculated from MIGET data using the 50-compartment model. MIGET LogSDV̇ and LogSDQ̇ were normal in all subjects. LogSDQ̇ was highly correlated between MRI and MIGET (R = 0.89, P = 0.007); the intercept was not significantly different from zero (-0.062, P = 0.65) and the slope did not significantly differ from identity (1.29, P = 0.34). MIGET and MRI measures of LogSDV̇ were well correlated (R = 0.83, P = 0.02); the intercept differed from zero (0.20, P = 0.04) and the slope deviated from the line of identity (0.52, P = 0.01). We conclude that in normal subjects, there is a reasonable agreement between MIGET measures of heterogeneity and those from proton MRI measured in a single slice of lung.NEW & NOTEWORTHY We report a comparison of a new proton MRI technique to measure regional V̇A/Q̇ ratio against the multiple inert gas elimination technique (MIGET). The study reports good relationships between measures of heterogeneity derived from MIGET and those derived from MRI. Although currently limited to a single slice acquisition, these data suggest that single sagittal slice measures of V̇A/Q̇ ratio provide an adequate means to assess heterogeneity in the normal lung.

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