Hemodynamic Evaluation of the Peripheral Pulmonary Circulation by Cine Phase-Contrast Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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Purpose:To describe the normal flow patterns in peripheral pulmonary vessels with phase-contrast (PC) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).Materials and Methods:Twelve healthy adults (age = 33 ± 7 years) underwent cine PC MRI of the segmental and central pulmonary arteries and veins by means of a breath-held segmented k-space technique. Flow patterns were analyzed on time-velocity curves and compared between the peripheral and central vessels.Results:The pulsatile flow patterns in the segmental arteries and veins were similar among individuals. When compared with the central pulmonary arteries, the segmental arteries had a delay in the systolic and diastolic flow velocity waves, and an increased magnitude of the diastolic peaks, in relation to the systolic peaks. A prominent notch was present during the deceleration phase of the systolic flow velocity wave in 79% of the segmental arteries investigated. The segmental veins showed a typical pulmonary venous flow pattern, as seen in the central veins, with similar systolic-to-diastolic peak velocity ratios.Conclusion:Noninvasive evaluation of blood flow in intraparenchymal pulmonary vessels is feasible with PC MRI. This first description of normal flow patterns in segmental pulmonary arteries and veins can serve as basis for further investigation in the setting of altered pulmonary blood flows. J. Magn. Reson. Imaging 2005. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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