Impact of age, sex, and global function on normal aortic hemodynamics

Michael B. Scott, Hyungkyu Huh, Pim van Ooij, Vincent Chen, Brenda Herrera, Mohammed Elbaz, Patrick McCarthy, S. Chris Malaisrie, James Carr, Paul W.M. Fedak, Michael Markl, Alex J. Barker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: To examine the effects of age, sex, and left ventricular global function on velocity, helicity, and 3D wall shear stress (3D-WSS) in the aorta of N = 100 healthy controls. Methods: Fifty female and 50 male volunteers with no history of cardiovascular disease, with 10 volunteers per age group (18-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, and 61-80 years) underwent aortic 4D-flow MRI. Quantification of systolic aortic peak velocity, helicity, and 3D-WSS distribution and the calculation of age group–averaged peak systolic velocity and 3D-WSS maps (“atlases”) were computed. Age-related and sex-related changes in peak velocity, helicity, and 3D-WSS were computed and correlated with standard metrics of left ventricular function derived from short-axis cine MRI. Results: No significant differences were found in peak systolic velocity or 3D-WSS based on sex except for the 18- to 30-year-old group (males 8% higher velocity volume and 3D-WSS surface area). Between successively older groups, systolic velocity decreased (13%, <1%, 7%, and 55% of the aorta volume) and 3D-WSS decreased (21%, 2%, 30%, and 62% of the aorta surface area). Mean velocity, mean 3D-3D-WSS, and median helicity increased with cardiac output (r = 0.27-0.43, all P <.01), and mean velocity and 3D-WSS decreased with increasing diameter (r > 0.35, P <.001). Arch and descending aorta systolic mean velocity, mean 3D-WSS, and median helicity increased with normalized left ventricular volumes: end diastolic volume (r = 0.31-0.37, P <.01), end systolic volume (r = 0.27-0.35, P <.01), and stroke volume (r = 0.28-0.35, P <.01). Conclusion: Healthy aortic hemodynamics are dependent on subject age, and correlate with vessel diameter and cardiac function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2088-2102
Number of pages15
JournalMagnetic resonance in medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2020


  • 4D flow MRI
  • aortic disease
  • flow imaging
  • healthy controls
  • hemodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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