Dynamic Lung MRI: Powerful Imaging Study Available Exclusively at CHOP

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Orthopaedics Update

Experts at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), in collaboration with Penn Medicine’s Medical Imaging Processing Group, have developed a revolutionary technique called dynamic lung MRI (dMRI) that allows clinicians to visualize the lungs as they move inside the body. CHOP is the only place in the world to offer this powerful study, which provides a “real-time” view of how a spine and rib cage deformity may obstruct both lung motion and expansion. dMRI is useful to help plan treatment and to monitor the progress of treatment, particularly for patients who receive a VEPTR — like MR, featured in this case study — who are followed for many years.

dMRI has several advantages over spirometry, which is the standard way to measure lung function. dMRI doesn’t require children to actively participate or follow instructions, so it is especially useful for evaluating lung function in very young children or those with cognitive or physical impairments. It also allows clinicians to view data from each lung separately, providing the level of detail they need to pinpoint where problems are occurring so they can plan more targeted and effective surgical interventions.

The CHOP team recently achieved a breakthrough in quantitative analysis of dMRI, determining precise volume measurements of the lungs due to both rib cage expansion and excursion of the diaphragm muscle on each side of the chest. This technique, called quantitative dynamic lung MRI (QdMRI), allows clinicians to measure lung volumes very precisely, within a tenth of a cc.

The team is currently exploring ways to make dMRI available at other hospitals, so more patients can benefit from this exciting advance.

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