The aim of this study was to determine the value of flow-sensitive four-dimensional MRI for the assessment of pulse wave velocity as a measure of vessel compliance in the thoracic aorta. Findings in 12 young healthy volunteers were compared with those in 25 stroke patients with aortic atherosclerosis and an age-matched normal control group (n = 9). Results from pulse wave velocity calculations incorporated velocity data from the entire aorta and were compared to those of standard methods based on flow waveforms at only two specific anatomic landmarks. Global aortic pulse wave velocity was higher in patients with atherosclerosis (7.03 ± 0.24 m/sec) compared to age-matched controls (6.40 ± 0.32 m/sec). Both were significantly (P < 0.001) increased compared to younger volunteers (4.39 ± 0.32 m/sec). Global aortic pulse wave velocity in young volunteers was in good agreement with previously reported MRI studies and catheter measurements. Estimation of measurement inaccuracies and error propagation analysis demonstrated only minor uncertainties in measured flow waveforms and moderate relative errors below 16% for aortic compliance in all 46 subjects. These results demonstrate the feasibility of pulse wave velocity calculation based on four-dimensional MRI data by exploiting its full volumetric coverage, which may also be an advantage over standard two-dimensional techniques in the often-distorted route of the aorta in patients with atherosclerosis.
- Phase contrast
- Pulse wave velocity
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging