Intracardiovascular blood pressure differences can be derived from velocity images acquired with phase-contrast (PC) MRI by evaluating the Navier-Stokes equations. Pressure differences within a slice of interest can be calculated using only the in-plane velocity components from that slice. This rapid exam is proposed as an alternative to the lengthy 3D velocity imaging exams. Despite their good spatial coverage, the 3D exams are prone to artifacts and errors from respiratory motion and insufficient temporal resolution, and are unattractive in the clinical setting due to their excessive scan times (>10 min of free breathing). The proposed single-slice approach requires only one or two breath-holds of acquisition time, and the velocity data can be processed for the calculation of pressure differences online with immediate feedback. The impact of reducing the pressure difference calculation to two dimensions is quantified by comparison with 3D data sets for the case of blood flow within the cardiac chambers. The calculated pressure differences are validated using high-fidelity pressure transducers both in a pulsatile flow phantom and in vivo in a dog model. There was excellent agreement between the transducer and PC-MRI results in all of the studies.
Published 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.