Lung morphology assessment using MRI: A robust ultra-short TR/TE 2D steady state free precession sequence used in cystic fibrosis patients
To evaluate feasibility and diagnostic quality of ultra-short TR/TE two-dimensional (2D) steady state free precession (SSFP) MRI for cystic fibrosis (CF) patients. We performed lung MRI at 1.5 Tesla in 20 CF-patients (6-17 years, 12 males). Axial, coronal, and sagittal sections were acquired in inspiration and expiration with maximum breath-hold time 10 s. MR and CT images were scored using a modified Brody scoring system to assess bronchiectasis, mucous plugging, atelectasis/consoli-dations, and air trapping. All images were scored by two experienced observers. A complete MR investigation took maximally 15 min. Maximal breath-holds were only 10 s and well tolerated. MRI identified major bronchiectasis, mucous plugging and at-electasis. End-expiratory scans showed patches of parenchyma with reduced signal intensity that may corresponded to areas of trapped air on expiratory CT scans. This MRI protocol based on ultra-short TR/TE 2D SSFP is quick and well tolerated and provides highly relevant imaging features as seen on CT in CF patients. Most importantly, the SNR of the expiratory scans enables to visualize air trapping. The preliminary results of this study suggest MRI as a noteworthy additional imaging tool for routine monitoring of CF patients.