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Hyperpolarized gases-a new type of MR contrast agents?

L. Schad, P. Bachert, M. Bock, M. Essig, M. Knopp, M. Ebert, T. Grossmann, W. Heil, R. Surkau and E. Otten

Acta Radiol Suppl, 412, pp.43-46

The nuclear spin polarization of noble gases can be strongly enhanced by laser optical pumping followed by electron-nuclear polarization transfer. Direct optical pumping of metastable 3He atoms has been shown to produce enormous polarization in the order of 0.4-0.6. This is about 10(5) times greater than the polarization of water protons at thermal equilibrium used at conventional MR imaging. We demonstrate that hyperpolarized 3He gas can be applied to nuclear MR imaging of human organs with air-filled spaces. In vivo 3He MR experiments were performed in a whole-body MR scanner with a superconducting magnet ramped down to 0.8 T and at 1.5 T using a double resonant Helmholtz coil operating at 63.6 and 48.6 MHz for 1H and 3He, respectively. Anatomical details of the lungs of a volunteer were visualized with the FLASH technique demonstrating the potential of the method for fast imaging of airways in the human body and for pulmonary ventilation studies.

Contact: Dr. Frank Zöllner last modified: 15.07.2019
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