The trachea and main bronchi of a supine patient in a magnetic resonance (MR) scanner are not contained in a single standard coronal plane, but instead intersect this coronal plane at some angle, usually 20°-35°. We have developed a new MR imaging protocol to determine the oblique imaging plane which best contains the trachea and main bronchi. The resulting oblique images simplify anatomical identification, and allow the user to select additional oblique planes which cut any desired portions of main bronchus in true cross section. Accurate lumen shapes and areas may then be extracted from these cross-sectional images. The method does not require the patient to be moved or rotated, and does not require hardware modification. We demonstrate the clinical application of the protocol with both a normal volunteer and a patient with an endobronchial tumor. The use of gradient echo pulse sequences together with this protocol to distinguish between vessels and bronchi is presented. We provide phantom verification to demonstrate the quantitative accuracy of the method to provide lumen areas.
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