Quantitative 2D and 3D phase contrast MRI: optimized analysis of blood flow and vessel wall parameters

A F Stalder, M F Russe, A Frydrychowicz, J Bock, J Hennig, M Markl
Magnetic Resonance in Medicine 2008, 60 (5): 1218-31
Quantification of CINE phase contrast (PC)-MRI data is a challenging task because of the limited spatiotemporal resolution and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). The method presented in this work combines B-spline interpolation and Green's theorem to provide optimized quantification of blood flow and vessel wall parameters. The B-spline model provided optimal derivatives of the measured three-directional blood velocities onto the vessel contour, as required for vectorial wall shear stress (WSS) computation. Eight planes distributed along the entire thoracic aorta were evaluated in a 19-volunteer study using both high-spatiotemporal-resolution planar two-dimensional (2D)-CINE-PC ( approximately 1.4 x 1.4 mm(2)/24.4 ms) and lower-resolution 3D-CINE-PC ( approximately 2.8 x 1.6 x 3 mm(3)/48.6 ms) with three-directional velocity encoding. Synthetic data, error propagation, and interindividual, intermodality, and interobserver variability were used to evaluate the reliability and reproducibility of the method. While the impact of MR measurement noise was only minor, the limited resolution of PC-MRI introduced systematic WSS underestimations. In vivo data demonstrated close agreement for flow and WSS between 2D- and 3D-CINE-PC as well as observers, and confirmed the reliability of the method. WSS analysis along the aorta revealed the presence of a circumferential WSS component accounting for 10-20%. Initial results in a patient with atherosclerosis suggest the potential of the method for understanding the formation and progression of cardiovascular diseases.

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