AUTHORS: Ma LE, Yerly J, Piccini D, Di Sopra L, Roy CW, Carr JC, Rigsby C, Kim D, Stuber M, Markl M

Radiology Cardiothoracic Imaging, 2(6): e200219, November 2020



To implement, validate, and apply a self-gated free-running whole-heart five-dimensional (5D) flow MRI framework to evaluate respiration-driven effects on three-dimensional (3D) hemodynamics in a clinical setting.

Materials and methods: 

In this prospective study, a free-running five-dimensional (5D) flow sequence was implemented with 3D radial sampling, self-gating, and a compressed-sensing reconstruction. The 5D flow was evaluated in a pulsatile phantom and adult participants with aortic and/or valvular disease who were enrolled between May and August 2019. Conventional twofold-accelerated four-dimensional (4D) flow of the thoracic aorta with navigator gating was performed as a reference comparison. Continuous parameters were evaluated for parameter normality and were compared between conventional 4D flow and 5D flow using a signed-rank or two-tailed paired t test. Differences between respiratory states were evaluated using a repeated-measure analysis of variance or a nonparametric Friedman test.


A total of 20 adult participants (mean age, 49 years ± 17 [standard deviation]; 18 men and two women) were included. In vitro 5D flow results showed excellent agreement with conventional 4D flow-derived values (peak and net flow, <7% difference over all quantified planes). Whole-heart 5D flow data were collected in all participants in 7.65 minutes ± 0.35 (acceleration rate = 36.0-76.9) versus 9.88 minutes ± 3.17 for conventional aortic 4D flow. In vivo, 5D flow demonstrated moderate agreement with conventional 4D flow but demonstrated overestimation in net flow and peak velocity (up to 26% and 12%, respectively) in the ascending aorta and underestimation (<12%) in the arch and descending aorta. Respiratory-resolved analyses of caval veins showed significantly increased net and peak flow in the inferior vena cava in end inspiration compared with end expiration, and the opposite trend was shown in the superior vena cava.


A free-running 5D flow MRI framework consistently captured cardiac and respiratory motion-resolved 3D hemodynamics in less than 8 minutes.

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