Journal of Applied Physiology (1985)
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This review provides a summary of pulmonary functional imaging approaches for determining pulmonary ventilation, with a specific focus on multi-detector x-ray computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). We provide the important functional definitions of pulmonary ventilation typically used in medicine and physiology and discuss the fact that some of the imaging literature describes gas distribution abnormalities in pulmonary disease that may or may not be related to the physiological definition or clinical interpretation of ventilation. We also review the current state-of-the-field in terms of the key physiological questions yet unanswered related to ventilation and gas distribution in lung disease. Current and emerging imaging research methods are described, including their strengths and the challenges that remain to translate these methods to more wide-spread research and clinical use. We also examine how computed tomography and MRI might be used in the future to gain more insight into gas distribution and ventilation abnormalities in pulmonary disease.