Background: Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is associated with pulmonary involvement that requires periodical assessment. Chest high-resolution computed tomography (HRCT) has become the method of choice to evaluate chronic lung disease, but entails exposure to ionizing radiation. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been proposed as a potential radiation-free technique in several chest disorders. Aim of our study is to evaluate whether high-field MRI is as effective as HRCT in identifying PCD pulmonary abnormalities. We also analyzed the relationships between the severity and extension of lung disease, and functional data.
Methods: Thirteen PCD patients (8 children/5 adults; median age, 15.2 yrs) underwent chest HRCT and high-field 3T MRI, spirometry, and deep throat or sputum culture. Images were scored using a modified version of the Helbich system.
Results: HRCT and MRI total scores were 12 (range, 6-20) and 12 (range, 5-17), respectively. Agreement between HRCT and MRI scores was good or excellent (r > 0.8). HRCT and MRI total scores were significantly related to forced vital capacity (r = -0.5, p = 0.05; and r = -0.7, p = 0.009, respectively) and forced expiratory volume at 1 second (r = -0.6, p = 0.03; and r = -0.7, p = 0.009, respectively).
Conclusion: Chest high-field 3T MRI appears to be as effective as HRCT in assessing the extent and severity of lung abnormalities in PCD. MRI scores might be used for longitudinal assessment and be an outcome surrogate in future studies.