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Abstract #3975

On the Estimation of the Alveolar Size in the Human Lung Using Proton MRI

Flavio Carinci 1,2 , Felix A. Breuer 1 , and Peter M. Jakob 1,2

1 Research Center Magnetic Resonance Bavaria (MRB), Wrzburg, Bayern, Germany, 2 Department of Experimental Physics 5, University of Wrzburg, Wrzburg, Bayern, Germany

The alveolar size is a parameter of paramount importance in the lung, since it could help to develop a better understanding of respiratory dynamics and to detect microstructural injuries. Here, a novel approach based on proton MRI is proposed, which allows for the quantification of the alveolar size in vivo, by exploiting the transverse relaxation enhancement due to water diffusion through the internal magnetic field gradients of the lung. To this end, maps of the transverse relaxation enhancement are acquired. Additionally, proton density images are used to correct for variations of the air fraction with inflation. Maps of the alveolar diameter are calculated from a combination of the two. Experiments performed on healthy volunteers show similar values in expiration and inspiration, with a mean value within the lung of about 230μm. This is in good agreement with previous reports, as well as with the alveolar recruitment theory.

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