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Phys Med Biol. 2008 Nov 7;53(21):6055-63. doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/53/21/011. Epub 2008 Oct 9.

An image acquisition and registration strategy for the fusion of hyperpolarized helium-3 MRI and x-ray CT images of the lung.

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  • 1Academic Units of Radiology and Clinical Oncology, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.


The purpose of this ethics committee approved prospective study was to evaluate an image acquisition and registration protocol for hyperpolarized helium-3 magnetic resonance imaging ((3)He-MRI) and x-ray computed tomography. Nine patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) gave written informed consent to undergo a free-breathing CT, an inspiration breath-hold CT and a 3D ventilation (3)He-MRI in CT position using an elliptical birdcage radiofrequency (RF) body coil. (3)He-MRI to CT image fusion was performed using a rigid registration algorithm which was assessed by two observers using anatomical landmarks and a percentage volume overlap coefficient. Registration of (3)He-MRI to breath-hold CT was more accurate than to free-breathing CT; overlap 82.9 +/- 4.2% versus 59.8 +/- 9.0% (p < 0.001) and mean landmark error 0.75 +/- 0.24 cm versus 1.25 +/- 0.60 cm (p = 0.002). Image registration is significantly improved by using an imaging protocol that enables both (3)He-MRI and CT to be acquired with similar breath holds and body position through the use of a birdcage (3)He-MRI body RF coil and an inspiration breath-hold CT. Fusion of (3)He-MRI to CT may be useful for the assessment of patients with lung diseases.

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