Diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) is feasible in the chest with currently available MR imaging scanners, although it is technically demanding. Although there is scarce clinical experience, the use of DWI has shown promising results in the characterization of pulmonary nodules, in lung cancer characterization and staging, and in the evaluation of mediastinal and pleural pathology. Ongoing research opens a door to noninvasive evaluation of heart fibers by means of diffusion-tensor imaging. Another area under investigation is the use of DWI of hyperpolarized gases as an early biomarker of pulmonary disease.
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