Spirometer-controlled Cine-Magnetic Resonance Imaging for Diagnosis of Tracheobronchomalacia in Pediatric Patients

P. Ciet, P. Wielopolski, R. Manniesing, S. Lever, M. De Bruijne, G. Morana, P. Muzzio, M. Lequin and H. Tiddens

European Respiratory Journal 2014;43:115-124



Tracheobronchomalacia (TBM) is defined as an excessive collapse of the intrathoracic trachea. Bronchoscopy is the gold standard to diagnose TBM, but bronchoscopy has major disadvantages, such as general anaesthesia. Cine-CT is a non-invasive alternative to diagnose TBM, but its use in children is restricted by ionizing radiation. Our aim was to evaluate the feasibility of spirometer-controlled cine-MRI as alternative to cine-CT in a retrospective study. 12 children (mean 12 years, range 7–17), suspected to have TBM, underwent cine-MRI. Static scans were acquired at end-inspiration and expiration covering the thorax using a 3D SPGR sequence. 3D-Dynamic-scans were performed covering only the central airways. TBM was defined as a decrease of the trachea or bronchi diameter greater than 50% at end-expiration in the static and dynamic scans. The success rate of the cine-MRI protocol was 92%. Cine-MRI was compared with bronchoscopy or chest-CT in 7 subjects. TBM was diagnosed by cine-MRI in 7 out of 12 children (58%) and was confirmed by bronchoscopy or CT. In 4 patients, cine-MRI demonstrated tracheal narrowing that was not present in the static scans. Spirometer-controlled cine–MRI is a promising technique to assess TBM in children and has the potential to replace bronchoscopy.

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