Purpose: To probe the variation of alveolar size in healthy lung tissue as a function of posture using diffusion-weighted helium-3 hyperpolarized gas imaging.
Materials and Methods: Measurements of the helium-3 apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) were made on six healthy subjects. These were used to show the variation of alveolar size between the lower-most dependent regions of the lung compared to the uppermost regions of the lung in four postures: supine, prone, left-lateral decubitus, and right-lateral decubitus.
Results: The distribution of acinar size in the lungs was found to be heterogeneous, and influenced by lung orientation. In nearly all postures, the ADC was significantly higher in the non-dependent uppermost regions of the lung compared to the dependent lowermost regions of the lung; the greatest variation was found in the left-lateral decubitus position. The difference in ADC between uppermost and lowermost regions was on average-0.012.cm(2)second(-1), which represents 20% of the average ADC value for the whole lung. A systematic decrease in ADC from the apex of the lung to the base was also found, which corresponds to an inherent gradient in alveolar size.
Conclusion: The posture dependent variations in ADC were attributed to compression of the parenchyma under its own weight and the mass of the heart.
- ACUTE RESPIRATORY-FAILURE
- PULMONARY PERFUSION
- HYPERPOLARIZED HE-3