BACKGROUND: Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) of fluorine-19 allows for the mapping of oxygen partial pressure within perfluorocarbons in the alveolar space (Pao2). Theoretically, fMRI-detected Pao2 can be combined with the Fick principle approach, i.e., a mass balance of oxygen uptake by ventilation and delivery by perfusion, to quantify the ventilation-perfusion ratio (Va/Q) of a lung region: The mixed venous blood and the inspiratory oxygen fraction, which are equal for all lung regions, are measured. In addition, the local expiratory oxygen fraction and the end capillary oxygen content, both of which may differ between the lung regions, are calculated using the fMRI-detected Pao2. We investigated this approach by numerical simulations and applied it to quantify local Va/Q in the perfluorocarbons during partial liquid ventilation.
METHODS: Numerical simulations were performed to analyze the sensitivity of the Va/Q calculation and to compare this approach with another one proposed by Rizi et al. in 2004 (Magn Reson Med 2004;52:65–72). Experimentally, the method was used during partial liquid ventilation in 7 anesthetized pigs. The Pao2 distribution in intraalveolar perflubron was measured by fluorine-19 MRI. Respiratory gas fractions together with arterial and mixed venous blood samples were taken to quantify oxygen partial pressure and content. Using the Fick principle, the local Va/Q was estimated. The impact of gravity (nondependent versus dependent) of perflubron dose (10 vs 20 mL/kg body weight) and of inspired oxygen fraction (Fio2) (0.4–1.0) on Va/Q was examined.
RESULTS: In numerical simulations, the Fick principle proved to be appropriate over the Va/Q range from 0.02 to 2.5. Va/Q values were in acceptable agreement with the method published by Rizi et al. In the experimental setting, low mean Va/Q values were found in perflubron (confidence interval [CI] 0.08–0.29 with 20 mL/kg perflubron). At this dose, Va/Q in the nondependent lung was higher (CI 0.18–0.39) than in the dependent lung regions (CI 0.06–0.16; P = 0.006; Student t test). Differences depending on Fio2 or perflubron dose were, however, small.
CONCLUSION: The results show that derivation of Va/Q from local Po2 measurements using fMRI in perflubron is feasible. The low detected Va/Q suggests that oxygen transport into the perflubron-filled alveolar space is significantly restrained.