Background The heterogeneous distribution of emphysema is a key feature of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients that typically is evaluated using high-resolution chest computed tomography (HRCT). Oxygen-enhanced pulmonary magnetic resonance imaging (OEMRI) is a new method to obtain information regarding regional ventilation, diffusion, and perfusion in the lung without radiation exposure. We aimed to compare OEMRI with HRCT for the assessment of heterogeneity in COPD patients. Methods Forty patients with stable COPD underwent quantitative HRCT, OEMRI, and pulmonary function tests, including arterial blood gas analysis. OEMRI was also performed on nine healthy control subjects. We measured the severity of emphysema (percent low attenuation volume; LAV%) in whole lungs and the standard deviations (SDs) of the LAV% values of 10 isovolumetric partitions (SD-LAV) as an index of cranial-caudal heterogeneity. Similarly, relative enhancement ratios of oxygen (RERs) in whole lungs from OEMRI and SD-RER were analyzed. Results COPD patients showed a lower mean RER than control subjects (12.6% vs 22.0%, p<0.01). The regional heterogeneity of the RERs was not always consistent with the LAV distribution. Both the HRCT (LAV% and SD-LAV) and the OEMRI (RER and SD-RER) indices were significantly associated with the diffusion capacity (DLCO) and partial pressure of oxygen in arterial blood (PaO2). The PaO2 was associated only with the heterogeneity index of HRCT (SD-LAV) (R2 = 0.39); however, the PaO2 was associated with both the mean RER and heterogeneity (SD-RER) in the multivariate analysis (R2 = 0.38). Conclusions OEMRI-derived parameters were directly associated with oxygen uptake in COPD patients. Although the OEMRI-derived parameters were not identical to the HRCT-derived parameters, the cranial-caudal heterogeneity in HRCT or OEMRI was complementary to that in evaluations of oxygen uptake in the lungs. Functional imaging seems to provide new insights into COPD pathophysiology without radiation exposure.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)