Assessment of intra-aneurysmal flow modification after flow diverter stent placement with four-dimensional flow MRI: a feasibility study

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Abstract

Background

Flow diverter stents (FDS) have been effectively used for the endovascular treatment of sidewall intracranial aneurysms (IAs). Unlike standard endovascular treatments used to exclude directly the aneurysm bulge from the parent vessel, FDS induce reduction in the intra-aneurysmal flow and promote progressive and stable thrombosis therein. The advent of FDS has therefore increased the need for understanding of IA hemodynamics.

Methods

We proposed the use of the most recently evolved four-dimensional (4D) flow MRI technique to evaluate qualitatively and quantitatively post-FDS flow modification in 10 patients. We report intra-aneurysmal velocity measurements and the influence of metal artifacts induced by the stent.

Results

An index was defined to quantitatively measure flow changes—namely, the proportional velocity reduction ratio (PVRR)—with ranges from 34.6% to 71.1%. Furthermore, we could compare streamlines characterizing the post-stent flow patterns in five patients in whom the intra-aneurysmal velocity was beyond the visualization threshold of 7.69 cm/s.

Conclusions

Despite metal artifacts and the low velocities involved, 4D flow MRI could be of interest to measure qualitatively and quantitatively flow changes in stented aneurysms. However, further enhancements are required together with further validation work before it can be considered for clinical use.

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