Purpose: To compare hyperpolarized helium-3 ((3) He) and xenon-129 ((129) Xe) MRI in asthmatics before and after salbutamol inhalation.
Materials and methods: Seven asthmatics provided written informed consent and underwent spirometry, plethysmography, and MRI before and after salbutamol inhalation. (3) He and (129) Xe ventilation defect percent (VDP) and ventilation coefficient of variation (COV) were measured. To characterize the airways spatially related to ventilation defects, wall area percent (WA%) and lumen area (LA) were evaluated for two subjects who had thoracic x-ray computed tomography (CT) acquired 1 year before MRI.
Results: Before salbutamol inhalation, (129) Xe VDP (8 ± 5%) was significantly greater than (3) He VDP (6 ± 5%, P = 0.003). Post-salbutamol, there was a significant improvement in both (129) Xe (5 ± 4%, P < 0.0001) and (3) He (4 ± 3%, P = 0.001) VDP, and the improvement in (129) Xe VDP was significantly greater (P = 0.008). (129) Xe MRI COV (Pre: 0.309 ± 0.028, Post: 0.296 ± 0.036) was significantly greater than (3) He MRI COV (Pre: 0.282 ± 0.018, Post: 0.269 ± 0.024), pre- (P < 0.0001) and post-salbutamol (P < 0.0001) and the decrease in COV post-salbutamol was significant ((129) Xe, P = 0.002; (3) He, P < 0.0001). For a single asthmatic, a sub-segmental (129) Xe MRI ventilation defect that was visible only before salbutamol inhalation but not visible using (3) He MRI was spatially related to a remodeled fourth generation sub-segmental airway (WA% = 78%, LA = 2.9 mm(2) ).
Conclusion: In asthma, hyperpolarized (129) Xe MRI may help reveal ventilation abnormalities before bronchodilation that are not observed using hyperpolarized (3) He MRI.
Keywords: airway obstruction; bronchodilator; functional imaging; gas distribution; ventilation defect.
Copyright © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.