Differences in hyperpolarized (3) He ventilation imaging after 4 years in adults with cystic fibrosis

J Magn Reson Imaging. 2015 Jun;41(6):1701-7. doi: 10.1002/jmri.24744. Epub 2014 Aug 30.


Purpose: To evaluate cystic fibrosis (CF) subjects over 4 years using (3) He magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), pulmonary function tests, and track hospitalization and physician visits.

Materials and methods: Five CF adults provided written informed consent to an approved protocol and underwent MRI, spirometry, and plethysmography at baseline, 7 days, and 4 ± 1 years later. (3) He MRI ventilation defect percent (VDP) was generated for all subjects and timepoints.

Results: After 4 years, mean forced expiratory volume in 1 second / forced vital capacity (FEV1 /FVC) was lower (P = 0.01) in all subjects and there were no other pulmonary function test changes. Two CF adults showed significantly elevated (worse) (3) He VDP at baseline and after 4 years they had significantly greater (worsened) VDP (P = 0.02), without a significant FEV1 decline (P = 0.06) but with a greater number of exacerbations (P < 0.05). Baseline VDP strongly correlated with FEV1 (r(2) = 0.98, P = 0.0007) at 4-year follow-up.

Conclusion: For two CF subjects, VDP was significantly worse at baseline and worsened over 4 years, which was in agreement with a greater number of hospitalizations and clinic visits. These results are limited by the very small sample size, but the strong VDP correlation with longitudinal changes in FEV1 generates the hypothesis that abnormal VDP may temporally precede FEV1 decline in CF subjects; this must be tested in a larger CF study.

Keywords: 3He; cystic fibrosis; hyperpolarized gas; lung disease; magnetic resonance imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cystic Fibrosis / physiopathology*
  • Female
  • Helium*
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Isotopes
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Male
  • Respiratory Function Tests


  • Isotopes
  • Helium