Rationale and objectives: MR imaging of the restricted diffusion of laser-polarized 3He gas provides unique insights into the changes in lung microstructure in emphysema.
Results: We discuss measurements of ventilation (spin density), mean diffusivity, and the anisotropy of diffusion, which yields the mean acinar airway radius. In addition, the use of spatially modulated longitudinal magnetization allows diffusion to be measured over longer distances and times, with sensitivity to collateral ventilation paths. Early results are also presented for spin density and diffusivity maps made with a perfluorinated inert gas, C3F8.
Methods: Techniques for purging and imaging excised lungs are discussed.