Rationale and Objectives: Acute and chronic graft rejection remains the major problem in clinical surveillance of lung-transplanted patients and early detection of complications is of capital importance to allow the optimal therapeutic option. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of quantitative non contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as a non-ionizing imaging modality to assess ventilation impairment in patients who have undergone lung transplantation, in comparison with quantitative computed tomography (CT) and spirometry. Materials and Methods: Ten lung-transplanted patients (39 ±12 years, forced-expiratory volume in 1 second (FEV1) = 81 ± 27%, forced vital capacity (FVC) = 87 ± 27%) were acquired in breath-hold at full-expiration and full-inspiration with 1.5T MRI and CT. Maps of expiratory-inspiratory difference in MR signal-intensity and CT-density were computed to estimate regional ventilation. Based on expiratory, inspiratory, and expiratory-inspiratory difference values, each pixel was classified as healthy (H), low ventilation (LV), air trapping (AT), and consolidation (C) and the percent extent of each class was quantified. Results: Overall, expiratory-inspiratory difference in MR signal-intensity correlated to CT-density (r = 0.64, p < 0.0001) and to FEV1 (ρ = 0.71, p = 0.02). The linear correlation between MRI and CT functional maps considering all the four classes is r = 0.93 (p < 0.0001). MRI percent volumes of H, AT, and C correlated to FEV1 %pred, with the highest correlation reported for AT (ρ = -0.82). Conclusion: Results demonstrated a good agreement between MRI and CT ventilation imaging and between the corresponding percent volumes of lung damage. Quantitative MRI may represent an accurate non-ionizing imaging technique for longitudinal monitoring of lung transplant recipients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging