Co-registration of the distribution of wall shear stress and 140 complex plaques of the aorta

Michael Markl, Stefanie M. Brendecke, Jan Simon, Alex J. Barker, Cornelius Weiller, Andreas Harloff*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Previous studies provide evidence that atherosclerosis develops in vascular regions exposed to low wall shear stress (WSS) and high oscillatory shear index (OSI). 4D flow MRI was analyzed in 70 stroke patients with complex plaques (≥4mm thickness, ulcerated or superimposed thrombi) and in 12 young healthy volunteers. The segmental distribution of peak systolic WSSsystole and OSI was quantified in analysis planes positioned directly at the location of 140 complex plaques found in the 70 patients. In addition, WSSsystole and OSI were evaluated in 8 standard analysis planes distributed along the aorta. Complex plaques were predominantly found at the inner curvature of the aortic arch and of the descending aorta. High OSI was co-located with the segments mostly affected by complex plaque while WSSsystole demonstrated a homogenous distribution. In standard analysis planes, patients demonstrated significantly (p<0.01) altered distribution of wall parameters compared to volunteers (reduced WSSsystole in 91% of aortic wall segments, increased OSI in 48% of segments). OSI distribution was asymmetric with higher values at the inner curvature of the aorta. While WSS and OSI showed expected changes in patients compared to healthy controls, their distribution pattern at complex plaques indicated a more complex and heterogeneous relationship than previously anticipated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1156-1162
Number of pages7
JournalMagnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2013


  • 4D flow MRI
  • Aorta
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Plaque
  • Wall shear stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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