Ventilation-based segmentation of the lungs using hyperpolarized 3He MRI




To develop an automated segmentation method to differentiate the ventilated lung volume on 3He magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

Materials and Methods:

Computational processing (CP) for each subject consisted of the following three essential steps: 1) inhomogeneity bias correction, 2) whole lung segmentation, and 3) subdivision of the lung segmentation into regions of similar ventilation. Evaluation consisted of two comparative analyses: i) comparison of the number of defects scored by two human readers in 43 subjects, and ii) simultaneous truth and performance level estimation (STAPLE) in 18 subjects in which the ventilation defects were manually segmented by four human readers.


There was excellent correlation between the number of ventilation defects tabulated by CP and reader #1 (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] = 0.86), CP and reader #2 (ICC = 0.85), and between the two readers (ICC = 0.97). The STAPLE results from the second analysis yielded the following sensitivity/specificity numbers: CP (0.898/0.905), radiologist #1 (0.743/0.897), radiologist #2 (0.501/0.985), radiologist #3 (0.898/0.848), and the first author (0.600/0.984).


We developed and evaluated an automated method for quantifying the ventilated lung volume on 3He MRI. The findings strongly indicate that our proposed algorithmic processing may be a reliable, automatic method for quantitating ventilation defects. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2011;. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.