Pediatric Radiology

, Volume 48, Issue 2, pp 165–175 | Cite as

Structural and perfusion magnetic resonance imaging of the lung in cystic fibrosis

  • Christina Amaxopoulou
  • Ralph Gnannt
  • Kai Higashigaito
  • Andreas Jung
  • Christian J. Kellenberger
Original Article



Because of its absence of ionising radiation and possibility for obtaining functional information, MRI is promising for assessing lung disease in children who require repetitive imaging for long-term follow-up.


To describe MRI findings in children with cystic fibrosis and evaluate semi-quantitative dynamic contrast-enhanced lung perfusion.

Materials and methods

We retrospectively compared lung MRI in 25 children and young adults with cystic fibrosis (median age 3.7 years) to 12 children (median age 2 years) imaged for other pathologies. MRI at 1.5 T included respiratory-gated sequences and contrast-enhanced lung perfusion imaging. We described and graded any morphologic change. Signal enhancement and time to peak values of perfusion abnormalities were compared to those of normally enhancing lung parenchyma.


Frequent findings in patients with cystic fibrosis were bronchial wall thickening (24/25, 96%), areas of consolidation (22/25, 88%), enlarged lymph nodes (20/25, 80%), bronchiectasis (5/25, 20%) and mucus plugging (3/25, 12%). Compared to normally enhancing lung, perfusion defects (21/25, 84%), characterised by decreased enhancement, showed prolonged time to peak. Areas of consolidation showed increased enhancement. While time to peak of procedure-related atelectasis was not significantly different from that of normal lung, disease-related consolidation showed prolonged time to peak (P=0.01).


Lung MRI demonstrates structural and perfusion abnormalities in children and young people with cystic fibrosis. Semi-quantitative assessment of dynamic contrast-enhanced perfusion imaging might allow differentiation between procedure-related atelectasis and disease-related consolidation.


Adolescents Children Cystic fibrosis Lung Functional magnetic resonance imaging Perfusion imaging 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christina Amaxopoulou
    • 1
    • 2
  • Ralph Gnannt
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kai Higashigaito
    • 3
  • Andreas Jung
    • 2
    • 4
  • Christian J. Kellenberger
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Diagnostic ImagingUniversity Children’s Hospital ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Children’s Research CenterUniversity Children’s Hospital ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  3. 3.Institute of Diagnostic and Interventional RadiologyUniversity Hospital ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  4. 4.Division of PneumologyUniversity Children’s Hospital ZürichZürichSwitzerland

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