We hypothesized that dynamic perfluorinated gas MRI would sensitively detect mild cystic fibrosis (CF) lung disease. This cross-sectional study enrolled 20 healthy volunteers and 24 stable subjects with CF, including a subgroup of subjects with normal forced expiratory volume in the first second (FEV1; >80% predicted, n = 9). Dynamic fluorine-19–enhanced MRI (19F MRI) were acquired during sequential breath holds while breathing perfluoropropane (PFP) and during gas wash-out. Outcomes included the fraction of lung without significant ventilation (ventilation defect percent, VDP) and time constants that described PFP wash-in and wash-out kinetics. VDP values (mean ± SD) of healthy controls (3.87% ± 2.7%) were statistically different from moderate CF subjects (19.5% ± 15.5%, P = 0.001) but not from mild CF subjects (10.4% ± 9.9%, P = 0.24). In contrast, the fractional lung volume with slow gas wash-out was elevated both in subjects with mild (9.61% ± 4.87%; P = 0.0066) and moderate CF (16.01% ± 5.01%; P = 0.0002) when compared with healthy controls (3.84% ± 2.16%) and distinguished mild from moderate CF (P = 0.006). 19F MRI detected significant ventilation abnormalities in subjects with CF. The ability of gas wash-out kinetics to distinguish between healthy and mild CF lung disease subjects makes 19F MRI a potentially valuable method for the characterization of early lung disease in CF. This study has been registered at ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT03489590).


Jennifer L. Goralski, Sang Hun Chung, Tyler M. Glass, Agathe S. Ceppe, Esther O. Akinnagbe-Zusterzeel, Aaron T. Trimble, Richard C. Boucher, Brian J. Soher, H. Cecil Charles, Scott H. Donaldson, Yueh Z. Lee


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