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European Radiology

, Volume 13, Issue 12, pp 2583-2586

First online:

Hyperpolarized 3-helium MR imaging of the lungs: testing the concept of a central production facility

  • E. J. R. van BeekAffiliated withUnit of Academic Radiology, University of SheffieldUnit of Academic Radiology, Floor C, Royal Hallamshire Hospital Email author 
  • , J. SchmiedeskampAffiliated withInstitut für Physik, University of Mainz
  • , J. M. WildAffiliated withUnit of Academic Radiology, University of Sheffield
  • , M. N. J. PaleyAffiliated withUnit of Academic Radiology, University of Sheffield
  • , F. FilbirAffiliated withInstitut für Physik, University of Mainz
  • , S. FicheleAffiliated withUnit of Academic Radiology, University of Sheffield
  • , F. KnitzAffiliated withDepartment of Anaesthesiology, University of Mainz
  • , G. H. MillsAffiliated withDepartment of Anaesthesiology, University of Sheffield
  • , N. WoodhouseAffiliated withUnit of Academic Radiology, University of Sheffield
    • , A. SwiftAffiliated withUnit of Academic Radiology, University of Sheffield
    • , W. HeilAffiliated withInstitut für Physik, University of Mainz
    • , M. WolfAffiliated withInstitut für Physik, University of Mainz
    • , E. OttenAffiliated withInstitut für Physik, University of Mainz

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Abstract.

The aim of this study was to test the feasibility of a central production facility with distribution network for implementation of hyperpolarized 3-helium MRI. The 3-helium was hyperpolarized to 50–65% using a large-scale production facility based at a university in Germany. Using a specially designed transport box, containing a permanent low-field shielded magnet and dedicated iron-free glass cells, the hyperpolarized 3-helium gas was transported via airfreight to a university in the UK. At this location, the gas was used to perform in vivo MR experiments in normal volunteers and patients with chronic obstructive lung diseases. Following initial tests, the transport (road–air–road cargo) was successfully arranged on six occasions (approximately once per month). The duration of transport to imaging averaged 18 h (range 16–20 h), which was due mainly to organizational issues such as working times and flight connections. During the course of the project, polarization at imaging increased from 20% to more than 30%. A total of 4 healthy volunteers and 8 patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease were imaged. The feasibility of a central production facility for hyperpolarized 3-helium was demonstrated. This should enable a wider distribution of gas for this novel technology without the need for local start-up costs.

Keywords

MR imaging Ventilation studies Hyperpolarized 3-helium Chronic obstructive lung disease