Reproducibility of 19F‐MR ventilation imaging in healthy volunteers


Purpose: To assess the reproducibility of percentage ventilated lung volume (%VV) measurements in healthy volunteers acquired by fluorine (19F)‐MRI of inhaled perfluoropropane, implemented at two research sites.

Methods: In this prospective, ethically approved study, 40 healthy participants were recruited (May 2018‐June 2019) to one of two research sites. Participants underwent a single MRI scan session on a 3T scanner, involving periodic inhalation of a 79% perfluoropropane/21% oxygen gas mixture. Each gas inhalation session lasted about 30 seconds, consisting of three deep breaths of gas followed by a breath‐hold. Four 19F‐MR ventilation images were acquired per participant, each separated by approximately 6 minutes. The value of %VV was determined by registering separately acquired 1H images to ventilation images before semi‐automated image segmentation, performed independently by two observers. Reproducibility of %VV measurements was assessed by components of variance, intraclass correlation coefficients, coefficients of variation (CoV), and the Dice similarity coefficient.

Results: The MRI scans were well tolerated throughout, with no adverse events. There was a high degree of consistency in %VV measurements for each participant (CoVobserver1 = 0.43%; CoVobserver2 = 0.63%), with overall precision of %VV measurements determined to be within ± 1.7% (95% confidence interval). Interobserver agreement in %VV measurements revealed a high mean Dice similarity coefficient (SD) of 0.97 (0.02), with only minor discrepancies between observers.

Conclusion: We demonstrate good reproducibility of %VV measurements in a group of healthy participants using 19F‐MRI of inhaled perfluoropropane. Our methods have been successfully implemented across two different study sites, supporting the feasibility of performing larger multicenter clinical studies.

Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2021; 85(6):3343-3352