The left ventricular outflow tract (LVOT) peak pressure gradient is an important haemodynamic descriptor in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM); however, secondary alterations in aortic blood flow have not been well described in these patients. Aortic flow derangement is not easily assessed by traditional imaging methods, but may provide unique characterization of this disease. In this study, we demonstrated how four-dimensional (4D) flow MRI can assess LVOT peak pressure gradients in HCM patients and also evaluated the ascending aorta (AAo) haemodynamic derangement associated with HCM.Methods and results
Obstructive (n = 12) and non-obstructive (n = 18) HCM patients were included in the study along with 10 normal volunteers. 4D flow MRI was used to visualize three-dimensional (3D) blood flow patterns within the LVOT and AAo, which were graded for the presence of helical flow as a marker of flow derangement (absent = 0, mild/moderate = 1, and severe = 2). MRI-estimated pressure gradient (ΔPMRI) was calculated from the peak systolic 3D blood velocity profile within the LVOT. There was higher grade helical flow in obstructive HCM patients compared with non-obstructive patients (P = 0.04) and volunteers (P < 0.001). Non-obstructive patients also had higher helix grade than volunteers (P = 0.002). There was a significant correlation between helical grade and increasing ΔPMRI (rS = 0.69, P < 0.001). Systolic anterior motion (SAM) of the mitral valve was associated with both increasing helix grade (P < 0.001) and ΔPMRI (P = 0.006).Conclusions
Ascending aorta flow derangement occurs in both obstructive and non-obstructive HCM patients and can be identified using 4D flow MRI. The degree of flow derangement correlates with LVOT gradient, SAM, and outflow tract geometry.