Assessing Pulmonary Gas Transfer in Lungs Using Hyperpolarized 129Xe MRI

A method for providing MRI data of pulmonary gas exchange and/or alveolarcapillary barrier status is disclosed. The method comprises transmitting an RF MRI excitation pulse imaging sequence configured to excite dissolved phase hyperpolarized 129Xe in a gas exchange region of a lung of a subject; and generating a three-dimensional 129Xe MRI image of a gas exchange region of the lung using dissolved phase 129Xe MRI image signal replenishment data associated with both red blood cell (RBC ) compartment and a barrier compartment. The RF excitation pulse imaging sequence comprises (a) a 3-D spin echo imaging sequence whereby the 3-D spin echo sequence generates an echo at about 90 degrees phase difference between the RBC compartment and the barrier compartment signals, or (b) radial imaging such that image data of 129Xe uptake in the barrier and RBC compartments are generated 90 degrees out of phase. Further disclosed is an MRI scanner system comprising an MRI scanner comprising an MRI receiver with a plurality of channels including a first channel configured to receive 129Xe RBC signal data of an RBC compartment of a lung of a patient and a second channel configured to receive 129Xe barrier compartment signal data of the lung of the patient. The MRI scanner is configured to programmatically set an MRI scanner frequency and phase to a 129Xe dissolved phase imaging mode configured for xenon alveolarcapillary transfer imaging.

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