A hybrid proton and hyperpolarized gas tagging MRI technique for lung respiratory motion imaging: A feasibility study

Lei Hu, Qijie Huang, Taoran Cui, Isabella Duarte, G. Wilson Miller, John P. Mugler, Gordon D. Cates, Jaime F. Mata, Eduard E. De Lange, Talissa A. Altes, Fang Fang Yin, Jing Cai

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this work was to develop a novel hybrid 3D hyperpolarized (HP) gas tagging MRI (t-MRI) technique and to evaluate it for lung respiratory motion measurement with comparison to deformable image registrations (DIR) methods. Three healthy subjects underwent a hybrid MRI which combines 3D HP gas t-MRI with a low resolution (Low-R, 4.5 mm isotropic voxels) 3D proton MRI (p-MRI), plus a high resolution (High-R, 2.5 mm isotropic voxels) 3D p-MRI, during breath-holds at the end-of-inhalation (EOI) and the end-of-exhalation (EOE). Displacement vector field (DVF) of the lung motion was determined from the t-MRI images by tracking tagging grids and from the High-R p-MRI using three DIR methods (B-spline based method implemented by Velocity, Free Form Deformation by MIM, and B-spline by an open source software Elastix: denoted as A, B, and C, respectively), labeled as tDVF and dDVF, respectively. The tDVF from the HP gas t-MRI was used as ground-truth reference to evaluate performance of the three DIR methods. Differences in both magnitude and angle between the tDVF and dDVFs were analyzed. The mean lung motion of the three subjects was 37.3 mm, 8.9 mm and 12.9 mm, respectively. Relatively large discrepancies were observed between the tDVF and the dDVFs as compared to previously reported DIR errors. The mean ± standard deviation (SD) DVF magnitude difference was 8.3 ± 5.6 mm, 9.2 ± 4.5 mm, and 9.3 ± 6.1 mm, and the mean ± SD DVF angular difference was 29.1 ± 12.1°, 50.1 ± 28.6°, and 39.0 ± 6.3°, for the DIR Methods A, B, and C, respectively. These preliminary results showed that the hybrid HP gas t-MRI technique revealed different lung motion patterns as compared to the DIR methods. It may provide unique perspectives in developing and evaluating DIR of the lungs. Novelty and Significance We designed a MRI protocol that includes a novel hybrid MRI technique (3D HP gas t-MRI with a low resolution 3D p-MRI) plus a high resolution 3D p-MRI. We tested the novel hybrid MRI technique on three healthy subjects for measuring regional lung respiratory motion with comparison to deformable image registrations (DIR) methods, and observed relatively large discrepancies in lung motion between HP gas t-MRI and DIR methods.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105019
JournalPhysics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2019


  • DIR
  • hyperpolarized gas
  • lung cancer
  • lung motion
  • MRI

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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