Pulmonary 3 T MRI with ultrashort TEs: influence of ultrashort echo time interval on pulmonary functional and clinical stage assessments of smokers

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2014 Apr;39(4):988-97. doi: 10.1002/jmri.24232. Epub 2013 Sep 30.


Purpose: To assess the influence of ultrashort TE (UTE) intervals on pulmonary magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with UTEs (UTE-MRI) for pulmonary functional loss assessment and clinical stage classification of smokers.

Materials and methods: A total 60 consecutive smokers (43 men and 17 women; mean age 70 years) with and without COPD underwent thin-section multidetector row computed tomography (MDCT), UTE-MRI, and pulmonary functional measurements. For each smoker, UTE-MRI was performed with three different UTE intervals (UTE-MRI A: 0.5 msec, UTE-MRI B: 1.0 msec, UTE-MRI C: 1.5 msec). By using the GOLD guidelines, the subjects were classified as: "smokers without COPD," "mild COPD," "moderate COPD," and "severe or very severe COPD." Then the mean T2* value from each UTE-MRI and CT-based functional lung volume (FLV) were correlated with pulmonary function test. Finally, Fisher's PLSD test was used to evaluate differences in each index among the four clinical stages.

Results: Each index correlated significantly with pulmonary function test results (P < 0.05). CT-based FLV and mean T2* values obtained from UTE-MRI A and B showed significant differences among all groups except between "smokers without COPD" and "mild COPD" groups (P < 0.05).

Conclusion: UTE-MRI has a potential for management of smokers and the UTE interval is suggested as an important parameter in this setting.

Keywords: COPD; CT; lung; magnetic resonance; pulmonary emphysema; ultrashort echo time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods
  • Image Interpretation, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / diagnosis*
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / pathology
  • Pulmonary Disease, Chronic Obstructive / physiopathology*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Respiratory Function Tests / methods
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Smoking / pathology*
  • Smoking / physiopathology*