Purpose: To prospectively evaluate the clinical feasibility of magnetic resonance (MR) imaging of the lungs with fast volumetric interpolated three-dimensional (3D) gradient-recalled-echo (GRE) sequences and to compare this examination with standard computed tomography (CT) in patients with lung abnormalities.
Materials and methods: Twenty-five patients with different lung abnormalities were examined with 3D GRE MR imaging. The small pulmonary nodules in seven, TNM stage of large intrapulmonary tumors in eight, and benign bronchial disease in five patients were evaluated. MR imaging-based diagnoses were compared with diagnoses made at CT and at discharge from the hospital. Contingency tables and the McNemar test were used to evaluate the significance of differences between MR imaging- and CT-based diagnoses.
Results: The MR imaging- and CT-based diagnoses were identical in 24 of 25 patients. In the remaining patient, clinical findings confirmed the accuracy of the MR imaging finding of pleural empyema. Ten of 15 solid pulmonary nodules smaller than 10 mm in diameter were detected at MR imaging (P >.1). Tumor stages at MR imaging and CT were identical, but lymph node stages at the two examinations differed in two of eight patients owing to overestimation of lymph node size at MR imaging (P >.2). In the five patients with bronchiectasis, MR imaging depicted 26 of 33 affected lung segments; differences between MR imaging and CT findings of bronchial dilatation (P >.05) and bronchial wall thickening (P >.2) were not significant. Peribronchial fibrosis was overestimated at MR imaging owing to image artifacts (P <.05).
Conclusion: Study results confirmed the feasibility of fast breath-hold 3D GRE MR imaging of the lung.
Copyright RSNA, 2002