Background: Due to the different properties of the contrast agents, the lung perfusion maps as measured by 99mTc-labeled macroaggregated albumin perfusion scintigraphy (PS) are not uncommonly discrepant from those measured by dynamic contrast-enhanced MRI (DCE-MRI) using indicator-dilution analysis in complex pulmonary circulation. Since PS offers the pre-capillary perfusion of the first-pass transit, we hypothesized that an inflow-weighted perfusion model of DCE-MRI could simulate the result by PS.
Methods: 22 patients underwent DCE-MRI at 1.5T and also PS. Relative perfusion contributed by the left lung was calculated by PS (PS(L%)), by DCE-MRI using conventional indicator dilution theory for pulmonary blood volume (PBV(L%)) and pulmonary blood flow (PBFL%) and using our proposed inflow-weighted pulmonary blood volume (PBV(iw)(L%)). For PBViw(L%), the optimal upper bound of the inflow-weighted integration range was determined by correlation coefficient analysis.
Results: The time-to-peak of the normal lung parenchyma was the optimal upper bound in the inflow-weighted perfusion model. Using PSL% as a reference, PBV(L%) showed error of 49.24% to -40.37% (intraclass correlation coefficient R(I) = 0.55) and PBF(L%) had error of 34.87% to -27.76% (R(I) = 0.80). With the inflow-weighted model, PBV(iw)(L%) had much less error of 12.28% to -11.20% (R(I) = 0.98) from PS(L%).
Conclusions: The inflow-weighted DCE-MRI provides relative perfusion maps similar to that by PS. The discrepancy between conventional indicator-dilution and inflow-weighted analysis represents a mixed-flow component in which pathological flow such as shunting or collaterals might have participated.