pp 1-26 | Cite as

Proton MRI Based Ventilation Imaging: Oxygen-Enhanced Lung MRI and Alternative Approaches

  • Olaf Dietrich
Part of the Medical Radiology book series


The direct visual assessment of the lung parenchyma and of lung ventilation using proton MRI is considerably more difficult than MRI of most other organs due to the very low signal intensity of the lung parenchyma. The low signal intensity is caused by the low average proton density and the short T 2 * relaxation time of lung tissue.

Several methods for proton MRI based ventilation measurements have been proposed to overcome these difficulties. Currently, the most established technique is oxygen-enhanced MRI of the lung, employing inhaled molecular oxygen as a T 1-reducing contrast agent, which enhances the signal of the protons in the lung. Clinical applications of oxygen-enhanced lung MRI have been assessed in a relatively large number of studies. Main advantages of oxygen-enhanced MRI are the general availability of oxygen and the relative safety of oxygen administration. Potential limitations of oxygen-enhanced lung MRI are the relatively low signal enhancement corresponding to a T 1 reduction of about 10 %, and the complex contrast mechanism with contributions from ventilation, perfusion, and oxygen-diffusion properties of the lung tissue.

Newer emerging techniques such as Fourier decomposition pulmonary MRI based on nonenhanced dynamic MR acquisitions appear to be a promising tool for ventilation assessment that may be clinically available in the near future. Other proposed techniques such as imaging after administration of aerosolized gadolinium contrast agents or after infusion of water-in-perfluorocarbon emulsions into the lung require still considerably more research before they might become applicable in clinical MR imaging.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Josef Lissner Laboratory for Biomedical ImagingInstitute for Clinical Radiology, Ludwig-Maximilians-University Hospital MunichMunichGermany

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