Hyperpolarized 129Xe magnetic resonance imaging: tolerability in healthy volunteers and subjects with pulmonary disease

Acad Radiol. 2012 Aug;19(8):941-51. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2012.03.018. Epub 2012 May 15.


Rationale and objectives: The objective of this study was to evaluate the tolerability of hyperpolarized (129)Xe gas inhaled from functional residual capacity and magnetic resonance imaging in healthy subjects and those with pulmonary disease.

Materials and methods: Twelve healthy volunteers (mean age, 59 ± 17 years), seven subjects with asthma (mean age, 47 ± 7 years), 10 subjects with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (mean age, 74 ± 4 years), three subjects with cystic fibrosis (mean age, 27 ± 10 years), and a single subject with radiation-induced lung injury (age, 66 years) were enrolled and evaluated over 43 visits with 136 anoxic inhalations of 500 mL (129)Xe gas mixed with 500 mL (4)He gas. Oxygen saturation and heart rate were monitored during the breath-hold and imaging; subjects were queried for adverse events (AEs) before and immediately following gas inhalation and for 24 hours after the last dose.

Results: No subjects withdrew from the study or reported serious, hypoxic, or severe AEs. Over the course of 136 dose administrations, two mild AEs (1%) were reported in two different subjects (two of 33 [6%]). One of these AEs (light-headedness) was temporally related and judged as possibly related to (129)Xe administration and resolved without treatment within 2 minutes. Statistically significant but clinically insignificant changes in oxygen saturation and heart rate were observed after inhalation (P < .001), and both resolved 1 minute later, with no difference between subject groups.

Conclusions: Inhalation of hyperpolarized (129)Xe gas and subsequent magnetic resonance imaging were well tolerated in healthy subjects and ambulatory subjects with obstructive and restrictive pulmonary disease.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Contrast Media / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lung Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Xenon Isotopes / adverse effects*
  • Young Adult


  • Contrast Media
  • Xenon Isotopes