We aimed to prospectively evaluate anatomic chest computed tomography (CT) with tissue characterization late gadolinium-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the evaluation of pulmonary fibrosis (PF). Twenty patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and twelve control patients underwent late-enhanced MRI and high-resolution CT. Tissue characterization of PF was depicted using a segmented inversion-recovery turbo low-angle shot MRI sequence. Pulmonary arterial blood pool nulling was achieved by nulling main pulmonary artery signal. Images were read in random order by a blinded reader for presence and extent of overall PF (reticulation and honeycombing) at five anatomic levels. Overall extent of IPF was estimated to the nearest 5% as well as an evaluation of the ratios of IPF made up of reticulation and honeycombing. Overall grade of severity was dependent on the extent of reticulation and honeycombing. No control patient exhibited contrast enhancement on lung late-enhanced MRI. All IPF patients were identified with late-enhanced MRI. Mean signal intensity of the late-enhanced fibrotic lung was 31.8±10.6 vs. 10.5±1.6 for normal lung regions, P < 0.001, resulting in a percent elevation in signal intensity from PF of 204.8%±90.6 compared with the signal intensity of normal lung. The mean contrast-to-noise ratio was 22.8±10.7. Late-enhanced MRI correlated significantly with chest CT for the extent of PF (R=0.78, P = 0.001) but not for reticulation, honeycombing, or coarseness of reticulation or honeycombing. Tissue characterization of IPF is possible using inversion recovery sequence thoracic MRI.
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