In vivo analysis of physiological 3D blood flow of cerebral veins

Florian Schuchardt*, Laure Schroeder, Constantin Anastasopoulos, Michael Markl, Jochen Bäuerle, Anja Hennemuth, Johann Drexl, José M. Valdueza, Irina Mader, Andreas Harloff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objectives: To visualize and quantify physiological blood flow of intracranial veins in vivo using time-resolved, 3D phase-contrast MRI (4D flow MRI), and to test measurement accuracy. Methods: Fifteen healthy volunteers underwent repeated ECG-triggered 4D flow MRI (3 Tesla, 32-channel head coil). Intracranial venous blood flow was analysed using dedicated software allowing for blood flow visualization and quantification in analysis planes at the superior sagittal, straight, and transverse sinuses. MRI was evaluated for intra- and inter-observer agreement and scan-rescan reproducibility. Measurements of the transverse sinuses were compared with transcranial two-dimensional duplex ultrasound. Results: Visualization of 3D blood flow within cerebral sinuses was feasible in 100 % and within at least one deep cerebral vein in 87 % of the volunteers. Blood flow velocity/volume increased along the superior sagittal sinus and was lower in the left compared to the right transverse sinus. Intra- and inter-observer reliability and reproducibility of blood flow velocity (mean difference 0.01/0.02/0.02 m/s) and volume (mean difference 0.0002/-0.0003/0.00003 l/s) were good to excellent. High/low velocities were more pronounced (8 % overestimation/9 % underestimation) in MRI compared to ultrasound. Conclusions: Four-dimensional flow MRI reliably visualizes and quantifies three-dimensional cerebral venous blood flow in vivo and is promising for studies in patients with sinus thrombosis and related diseases. Key Points: • 4D flow MRI can be used to visualize and quantify physiological cerebral venous haemodynamics • Flow quantification within cerebral sinuses reveals high reliability and accuracy of 4D flow MRI • Blood flow volume and velocity increase along the superior sagittal sinus • Limited spatial resolution currently precludes flow quantification in small cerebral veins

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2371-2380
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Radiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 22 2015


  • 4D flow MRI
  • Cerebral veins
  • Haemodynamics
  • Superior sagittal sinus
  • Transverse sinus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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