The Center for Pulmonary Imaging Research-Neonatal Imaging Highlights

The Center for Pulmonary Imaging Research (CPIR), established in 2013 under the leadership of Dr. Jason Woods, PhD, has a mission to broaden the understanding of regional lung structure and function, and of how these are altered by pulmonary disease. A primary research focus of the CPIR includes neonatal pulmonary imaging using a unique, neonatal-sized MRI scanner sited within the NICU. Recent work on imaging infants with bronchopulmonary dysplasia (BPD) has demonstrated that lung MRI is able to spatially resolve and quantify structural abnormalities in neonatal lung tissue with CT-like resolution and density, but without the ionizing radiation associated with CT. Dr Woods and his team has used MRI results in BPD patients to differentiate subtle differences between mild and more severe disease, through analysis of lung parenchyma that is outside of the normal range and can represent either fibrosis or alveolar simplification. These findings may serve as a basis for defining individual phenotypes of disease, which could impact clinical care and predict future outcomes. In addition, recent developments on a novel MRI acquisition sequence (called ultrashort echo time MRI) and associated image reconstruction methods have demonstrated the ability to generate images gated to various phases of respiration. This also allows inspiration-expiration differences to be examined, but also allows data acquired during motion-corrupted periods to be discarded, while preserving data acquired during periods of quiescence. Preliminary implementation of these techniques has shown promise in visualizing rare neonatal lung disorders (such as congenital diaphragmatic hernia or tracheal esophageal fistula/esophageal atresia) both before and after surgical repair. Monitoring and quantification of lung and airway tissues at pre- and post-repair time-points will provide important, new insights into patients’ recovery trajectories.

Developing a Learning Network for Cystic Fibrosis

Imagine a system of cystic fibrosis (CF) care that can produce these outcomes: The average patient health-related quality of life is no different from that of the general population, people with CF and their families are able to achieve their stated goals, and the median age at death has doubled from 27.5 years (2013 data) to 55 years. What will it take to get there? To answer this question, a team led by Michael Seid, PhD, has received funding from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to design and develop the CF care model of the future. This team envisions a system that makes it easier for everyone-families, people with CF, clinicians, researchers and others-to work together at scale to improve health, care and costs for people with CF. This builds on improvement work at Cincinnati Children's Cystic Fibrosis Center, the CF Foundation’s work in developing a patient registry and care center network, and the James M. Anderson Center for Health Systems Excellence development of learning networks in other conditions. Beginning with 13 adult and pediatric programs, the pilot CF Learning Network will develop the social, technical and scientific infrastructure for collaborative learning and improvement; and improve outcomes such as quality of life, patients’ ability to meet their personal goals and clinician joy in work. If successful, the CF Foundation plans to spread the CF Learning Network to CF clinical programs throughout the country