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J Magn Reson Imaging. 2010 Dec;32(6):1398-408. doi: 10.1002/jmri.22375.

Imaging of lung function using hyperpolarized helium-3 magnetic resonance imaging: Review of current and emerging translational methods and applications.

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Department of Medical Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wisconsin, USA.


During the past several years there has been extensive development and application of hyperpolarized helium-3 (HP (3)He) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in clinical respiratory indications such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, radiation-induced lung injury, and transplantation. This review focuses on the state-of-the-art of HP (3)He MRI and its application to clinical pulmonary research. This is not an overview of the physics of the method, as this topic has been covered previously. We focus here on the potential of this imaging method and its challenges in demonstrating new types of information that has the potential to influence clinical research and decision making in pulmonary medicine. Particular attention is given to functional imaging approaches related to ventilation and diffusion-weighted imaging with applications in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cystic fibrosis, asthma, and radiation-induced lung injury. The strengths and challenges of the application of (3)He MRI in these indications are discussed along with a comparison to established and emerging imaging techniques.

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