Four-dimensional MRI flow examinations in cerebral and extracerebral vessels - Ready for clinical routine?

Susanne Schnell*, Can Wu, Sameer A. Ansari

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Purpose of review To evaluate the feasibility of 4-dimensional (4D) flow MRI for the clinical assessment of cerebral and extracerebral vascular hemodynamics in patients with neurovascular disease. Recent findings 4D flow MRI has been applied in multiple studies to qualitatively and quantitatively study intracranial aneurysm blood flow for potential risk stratification and to assess treatment efficacy of various neurovascular lesions, including intraaneurysmal and parent artery blood flow after flow diverter stent placement and staged embolizations of arteriovenous malformations and vein of Galen aneurysmal malformations. Recently, the technique has been utilized to characterize age-related changes of normal cerebral hemodynamics in healthy individuals over a broad age range. Summary 4D flow MRI is a useful tool for the noninvasive, volumetric and quantitative hemodynamic assessment of neurovascular disease without the need for gadolinium contrast agents. Further improvements are warranted to overcome technical limitations before broader clinical implementation. Current developments, such as advanced acceleration techniques (parallel imaging and compressed sensing) for faster data acquisition, dual or multiple velocity encoding strategies for more accurate arterial and venous flow quantification, ultrahigh-field strengths to achieve higher spatial resolution and streamlined postprocessing workflow for more efficient and standardized flow analysis, are promising advancements in 4D flow MRI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-428
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • 4-dimensional flow MRI
  • cerebrovascular disease
  • hemodynamics
  • intracranial and extracranial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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