Assessment of Differential Pulmonary Blood Flow Using Perfusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Comparison With Radionuclide Perfusion Scintigraphy

Investigative Radiology. 2006 Aug;41(8):624-630. [Link]

Molinari F, Fink C, Risse F, Tuengerthal S, Bonomo L, Kauczor HU.

From the *Department of Radiological Sciences, Catholic University of Rome, Rome, Italy; daggerDepartment of Radiology and section signMedical Physics in Radiology, Deutsches Krebsforchungszentrum (DKFZ), Heidelberg, Germany; double daggerInstitute of Clinical Radiology Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, University Clinics Grosshadern, Munich, Germany; and paragraph signDepartment of Radiology, Thoraxklinik, Heidelberg, Germany.


Objectives: We sought to assess the agreement between lung perfusion ratios calculated from pulmonary perfusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and those calculated from radionuclide (RN) perfusion scintigraphy.

Materials and Methods: A retrospective analysis of MR and RN perfusion scans was conducted in 23 patients (mean age, 60 +/- 14 years) with different lung diseases (lung cancer = 15, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease = 4, cystic fibrosis = 2, and mesothelioma = 2). Pulmonary perfusion was assessed by a time-resolved contrast-enhanced 3D gradient-echo pulse sequence using parallel imaging and view sharing (TR = 1.9 milliseconds; TE = 0.8 milliseconds; parallel imaging acceleration factor = 2; partition thickness = 4 mm; matrix = 256 x 96; in-plane spatial resolution = 1.87 x 3.75 mm; scan time for each 3D dataset = 1.5 seconds), using gadolinium-based contrast agents (injection flow rate = 5 mL/s, dose = 0.1 mmol/kg of body weight). The peak concentration (PC) of the contrast agent bolus, the pulmonary blood flow (PBF), and blood volume (PBV) were computed from the signal-time curves of the lung. Left-to-right ratios of pulmonary perfusion were calculated from the MR parameters and RN counts. The agreement between these ratios was assessed for side prevalence (sign test) and quantitatively (Deming-regression).

Results: MR and RN ratios agreed on side prevalence in 21 patients (91%) with PC, in 20 (87%) with PBF, and in 17 (74%) with PBV. The MR estimations of left-to-right perfusion ratios correlated significantly with those of RN perfusion scans (P < 0.01). The correlation was higher using PC (r = 0.67) and PBF (r = 0.66) than using PBV (r = 0.50). The MR ratios computed from PBF showed the highest accuracy, followed by those from PC and PBV. Independently from the MR parameter used, in some patients the quantitative difference between the MR and RN ratios was not negligible.

Conclusions: Pulmonary perfusion MRI can be used to assess the differential blood flow of the lung. Further studies in a larger group of patients are required to fully confirm the clinical suitability of this imaging method.