[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proton magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has recently emerged as a clinical tool to image the lungs. This paper outlines the current technical aspects of MRI pulse sequences, radiofrequency (RF) coils and MRI system requirements needed for imaging the pulmonary parenchyma and vasculature. Lung MRI techniques are presented as a "technical toolkit", from which MR protocols will be composed in the subsequent papers for comprehensive imaging of lung disease and function (parts 2 and 3). This paper is pitched at MR scientists, technicians and radiologists who are interested in understanding and establishing lung MRI methods. Images from a 1.5 T scanner are used for illustration of the sequences and methods that are highlighted. Main Messages • Outline of the hardware and pulse sequence requirements for proton lung MRI • Overview of pulse sequences for lung parenchyma, vascular and functional imaging with protons • Demonstration of the pulse-sequence building blocks for clinical lung MRI protocols.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In imaging of human lungs with hyperpolarised noble gases, measurements of apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) and relaxation time provide valuable information for the assessment of lung microstructure. In this work, a sequence was developed for interleaved acquisition of ventilation images, ADC, T(2)* and flip angle maps in a single scan from the human lungs with a single dose of inhaled (3)He at 3 T. Spatially registered ventilation images with parametric maps were obtained. The total acquisition time was reduced by random undersampling of the k-space and reconstruction using compressed sensing (CS). The gain in speed was used for an increase in spatial resolution. Mean ADC values from the fully sampled and undersampled CS data exhibit no statistically significant difference in a given subject. The mean T(2)* values, however, were found to differ significantly, which is attributed to the combined effect of low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the fully sampled data and the smoothing effect inherent in CS reconstruction.
NMR in Biomedicine 01/2012; 25(1):44-51. · 3.45 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The (3)He MR diffusion signal is sensitive to lung microstructure, but it is also affected by the presence of background field inhomogeneities induced by the magnetic susceptibility difference at the air-tissue interface. These susceptibility-induced gradients, which are dependent on field strength, have been assumed negligible in theoretical models used to extract airway morphometric information from (3)He MR diffusion data at field strengths up to 4.7 T. In this work, the effect of susceptibility gradients on (3)He apparent diffusion coefficient is demonstrated with experiments in healthy volunteers at two B(0) field strengths: 1.5 and 3 T. Apparent diffusion coefficient values obtained at 3 T were systematically larger than at 1.5 T, demonstrating that susceptibility effects are statistically significant even at clinical field strengths (B(0) ≤ 3 T) and introduce biases in the estimates of airway dimensions (e.g., mean linear intercept up to 17% larger at 3 T than 1.5 T). Susceptibility effects should be taken into account in the development of theoretical models of lung (3)He MR diffusion and considered when interpreting (3)He apparent diffusion coefficients obtained at different B(0).
Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 11/2011; 67(2):322-5. · 3.27 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Simple methods for manipulating 3He spins at low magnetic fields using low cost digital I/O cards are presented. A brief overview of a digital NMR spectrometer is given along with practical information on the implementation and an assessment of the losses per pulse. Through the use of coils with different quality factors the effects of radiation damping are investigated and assessed in the context of the sample polarisation using neutron transmission measurements. The hardware is further used to synthesize an adiabatic swept pulse which is used to reverse the 3He spin direction, allowing the selection of a particular neutron spin.
Journal of Physics Conference Series 06/2011; 294(1):012010.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A high power narrow line width (38 W, 0.09 nm full width at half maximum) external cavity diode laser is investigated for rubidium spin exchange optical pumping of <sup>129</sup> X e . This tunable photon source has a constant line width, independent of operating power or wavelength within a 1 nm tuning range. When using this laser, an increase in the <sup>129</sup> X e nuclear polarization is observed when optically pumping at a lower wavelength than the measured Rb electron D <sub>1</sub> absorption. The exact detuning from D <sub>1</sub> for the highest polarization is dependent upon the gas density. Furthermore, at high power and/or high Rb density, a reduction in the polarization occurs at the optimum wavelength as previously reported in spin exchange optical pumping studies of <sup>3</sup> H e which is consistent with high absorption close to the cell front face. These results are encouraging for moderate high throughput polarization of <sup>129</sup> X e in the midpressure range of (0.5–2.0 amagat).
Journal of Applied Physics 10/2010; · 2.21 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Models of lung acinar geometry have been proposed to analytically describe the diffusion of (3)He in the lung (as measured with pulsed gradient spin echo (PGSE) methods) as a possible means of characterizing lung microstructure from measurement of the (3)He ADC. In this work, major limitations in these analytical models are highlighted in simple diffusion weighted experiments with (3)He in cylindrical models of known geometry. The findings are substantiated with numerical simulations based on the same geometry using finite difference representation of the Bloch-Torrey equation. The validity of the existing "cylinder model" is discussed in terms of the physical diffusion regimes experienced and the basic reliance of the cylinder model and other ADC-based approaches on a Gaussian diffusion behaviour is highlighted. The results presented here demonstrate that physical assumptions of the cylinder model are not valid for large diffusion gradient strengths (above approximately 15 mT/m), which are commonly used for (3)He ADC measurements in human lungs.
Journal of Magnetic Resonance 03/2010; 204(2):228-38. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to apply hyperpolarised (HP) (3)He magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and alpha(1)-antitrypsin deficiency (alpha(1)-ATD) from healthy volunteers and compare HP (3)He MRI findings with high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) in a multicentre study. Quantitative measurements of HP (3)He MRI (apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC)) and HRCT (mean lung density (MLD)) were correlated with pulmonary function tests. A prospective three centre study enrolled 122 subjects with COPD (either acquired or genetic) and age-matched never-smokers. All diagnostic studies were completed in 94 subjects (52 with COPD; 13 with alpha(1)-ATD; 29 healthy subjects; 63 males; and 31 females; median age 62 yrs). The consensus assessment of radiologists, blinded for other test results, estimated nonventilated lung volume (HP (3)He MRI) and percentage diseased lung (HRCT). Quantitative evaluation of all data for each centre consisted of ADC (HP (3)He MRI) and MLD measurements (HRCT), and correlation with forced expiratory volume in 1 s (FEV(1))/forced vital capacity (FVC) indicating airway obstruction, and the diffusing capacity of the lung for carbon monoxide (D(L,CO)) indicating alveolar destruction. Using lung function tests as a reference, regional analysis of HP (3)He MRI and HRCT correctly categorised normal volunteers in 100% and 97%, COPD in 42% and 69% and alpha(1)-ATD in 69% and 85% of cases, respectively. Direct comparison of HP (3)He MRI and CT revealed 23% of subjects with moderate/severe structural abnormalities had only mild ventilation defects. In comparison with lung function tests, ADC was more effective in separating COPD patients from healthy subjects than MLD (p<0.001 versus 0.038). ADC measurements showed better correlation with D(L,CO) than MLD (r = 0.59 versus 0.29). Hyperpolarised (3)He MRI correctly categorised patients with COPD and normal volunteers. It offers additional functional information, without the use of ionising radiation whereas HRCT gives better morphological information. We showed the feasibility of a multicentre study using different magnetic resonance systems.
European Respiratory Journal 06/2009; 34(6):1311-21. · 6.36 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We present a detailed investigation into 3He neutron spin filter cells polarised by spin exchange optical pumping (SEOP). We include measurements of the absolute 3He polarisation using neutron transmission and characterisation of both the X-factor and 3He relaxation times (T1) for a number of cells. For one cell we calculated a maximum 3He polarisation of 79% with a T1 of 633h. The measured X-factor of this cell, X=0.17±0.01, is low. For all cells polarisations of >71% are observed. In addition we present 3He relaxation data for a new design of magneto-static cavity with a field of high homogeneity ΔB/B0≈3.5×10-4cm-1. This compact device provides a magnetic field in an orientation suitable for in situ optical pumping that minimises the field inhomogeneity contribution to the T1 to 930h in a 1bar cell, the longest reported on beam thus far. The results suggest that high 3He polarisation with long relaxation times can now be routinely obtained with SEOP, enabling time independent incident beam polarisation to be easily implemented across many different neutron scattering instruments.
Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research Section A Accelerators Spectrometers Detectors and Associated Equipment 01/2009; 598(3):774-778. · 1.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A method of determining the phase-encode order for MR Fourier-encoded imaging is described, which provides an additional option for optimizing images from samples with signals that change during data acquisition. Examples are in hyperpolarized helium gas imaging of the lungs where polarization is lost with each RF pulse or the signal changes observed in rapid dynamic studies with T(1) or T(2)* contrast agents when mixing is taking place. The method uses a single frequency-encoded projection in the proposed phase-encoding direction. The projection is subsequently sorted into signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) order. The indices of the sorted array are then used to create the phase-encode table to be used for the scan. This phase table is sorted in descending SNR order for signals that decrease during data acquisition and in ascending order for signals that increase during data acquisition. Simulations suggest that this technique can produce higher resolution than centric-ordered phase encoding at the expense of increased modulation (ghosting) artifact for dynamically changing signals. Initial practical implementation of the technique has been carried out on a dedicated 0.2-T Niche MR system, and the test object results agree well with simulations. Hyperpolarized 3-He lung images have also been acquired and postprocessed using the SNR phase order k-space encoding (SPOKE) methodology and show potential for improved imaging with high flip angles where polarization is rapidly lost. Applications may also be found for 3D volumetric acquisitions where two dimensions can be SPOKE encoded.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging 01/2008; 25(10):1402-8. · 2.06 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Slice-multiplexed RF pulses have recently been introduced for simultaneous multi-slice imaging. Their novel aspect is that each slice is given a different linear phase profile, and hence a different slice-rephasing requirement, by the pulse. During readout, extra slice gradients are applied such that when one slice is rephased, the others are dephased to prevent aliasing. In this paper, an improved method of designing slice-multiplexed RF pulses is presented: component pulses which are optimized with simulated annealing for a specific rephasing are combined using Shinnar-Le Roux methods. In this way, non-linearities at higher flip angles are taken into account and more slices can be excited. Bloch simulations show the phase and amplitude profile of component pulses are faithfully preserved in the multiplexed pulse. Three- and four-slice multiplex pulses are demonstrated in gradient- and spin-echo in-vivo imaging.
Journal of Magnetic Resonance 10/2006; 182(1):133-42. · 2.30 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Sensitivity-encoded phase undersampling has been combined with simultaneous slice excitation to produce a parallel MRI method with a high volumetric acquisition acceleration factor without the need for auxiliary stepped field coils. Dual-slice excitation was produced by modulating both spin and gradient echo sequences at +/-6 kHz. Frequency aliasing of simultaneously excited slices was prevented by using an additional gradient applied along the slice axis during data acquisition. Data were acquired using a four-channel receiver array and x4 sensitivity encoding on a 1.5 T MR system. The simultaneous parallel inclined readout image technique has been successfully demonstrated in both phantoms and volunteers. A multiplicative image acquisition acceleration factor of up to x8 was achieved. Image SNR and resolution was dependent on the ratio of the readout gradient to the additional slice gradient. A ratio of approximately 2:1 produced acceptable image quality. Use of RF pulses with additional excitation bands should enable the technique to be extended to volumetric acquisition acceleration factors in the range of x16-24 without the SNR limitations of pure partially parallel phase reduction methods.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging 07/2006; 24(5):557-62. · 2.06 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A method for simultaneous multislice imaging is presented that uses a multislice RF pulse that imparts a different linear phase profile to each slice. During readout, slices are unaliased by using extra slice-select gradient lobes, which rephase and dephase individual slices one at a time. Compared to other simultaneous slice methods, this method avoids distortion by slice-select gradients, and does not require extra views or additional hardware. However, because one echo per slice is required, the method requires a longer read period. This can cause non-ideal rephasing of the individual slices due to susceptibility gradients, which manifests itself as crosstalk between slices. There is also a concomitant increase in the minimum TR of the sequence. The method is demonstrated with phantom and in vivo images using gradient-echo and spin-echo versions.
Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 11/2005; 54(4):755-60. · 3.27 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This work describes the method of generalized projections (MGP) as an image-based, postprocessing method to correct for phase inconsistencies caused by echo misalignments in radial imaging. Computer simulations show that MGP can correct for echo shifts, constant phase, and amplitude errors, but the accuracy of the correction is limited, and this accuracy is reduced by the addition of more degrees of freedom. In phantom experiments, MGP performed better than magnitude filtered backprojection and anti-parallel projections correction.
Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 08/2005; 54(1):246-50. · 3.27 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In adults the cranium is a rigid bony vault of fixed size and therefore the intra-cranial volume is a constant which equals the sum of the volume of the brain, the intra-cranial volume of CSF and the intra-cranial volume of blood. There can be marked changes in the volumes of these three intra-cranial compartments which may influence susceptibility to brain damage after head injury. This is the first study to investigate the relationship between dehydration and changes in the volume of the brain and the cerebral ventricles. Six healthy control subjects underwent magnetic resonance imaging of the brain before and after a period of exercise in an environmental chamber. The subjects lost between 2.1 % and 2.6 % of their body mass due to water loss through sweating. We found a correlation between the degree of dehydration and the change in ventricular volume (r=0.932, p=0.007). The changes in ventricular volume caused by dehydration were much larger than those seen in day-to-day fluctuations in a normally hydrated healthy control subject.
International Journal of Sports Medicine 01/2005; 26(6):481-5. · 2.27 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] 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.
European Radiology 01/2004; 13(12):2583-6. · 3.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The first generation of digital subtraction MR angiography using thick-slab contrast-enhanced 2D projection techniques has confirmed the potential of MRI to produce noninvasive subsecond angiograms of the craniocervical circulation. As time-resolved techniques become more sophisticated and 3D acquisitions can be obtained with high isotropic spatial resolution we may start to see the demise of catheter angiography as a diagnostic procedure.